Cryptocurrency critics, including economists and researchers, will gather in London and online this week to get their message across to regulators about the booming but volatile sector.
A number of governments have expressed concerns about cryptocurrencies, but backers of the inaugural Crypto Policy Symposium hope the event will lead to a much more “critical discourse” on the sector.
“There are so many crypto conferences, but they are funded by the crypto industry,” said Martin Walker, a co-organizer.
“The goal is to dispel some myths created by the crypto industry and get policymakers to ask the right questions.”
But Walker, a banking IT expert, is quick to dismiss claims that Monday and Tuesday’s event was an “anti-crypto conference.”
Instead, he says it’s a chance to hear the critical voices of financial bubble specialists, researchers who have assessed the industry’s carbon footprint and engineers who question the effectiveness of decentralized technologies.
“We have regulators from all over the world,” he said.
About 1,000 people have signed up to watch the conference online and UK officials are expected to attend a live event in London on Tuesday.
The conference comes as the price of bitcoin fell to around $20,000 from a peak of nearly $69,000 last October.
The risky nature of the ultra-volatile and poorly regulated retail investor market is highlighted.
Many central banks and financial market regulators have warned about the dangers of cryptocurrencies.
But in the absence of a clear legal framework, users are rarely informed when making their investments, crypto critics say.
The collapse of cryptocurrency investment platform Celsius left customers desperate and unable to recover investments that sometimes included life savings.
The company faced mounting problems until it froze withdrawals in mid-June and a court filing showed it owed its users $4.7 billion.
“People haven’t understood that their money isn’t safe and they still don’t understand why they can’t get it back,” said Amy Castor, a respected freelance journalist who is among the cryptocurrency’s most vocal critics.
“We wanted our voices to be heard because it’s important for regulators to understand the risks, how cryptocurrencies work, and the frauds involved so they can do more to protect retail investors (and) the public,” she said.
Castor, who used to work for cryptocurrency media, became known for her criticism of the so-called “stablecoin” Tether during the 2017 price surge and subsequent crash.
Tether’s price is pegged to the US dollar, but its cash flow remains unclear.
“The problem is that cryptocurrency has gotten so big that a lot of money is now going into lobbying…to support politicians,” Castor added.
critic not hater
In the United States, some elected officials have proudly shown their support for the sector, particularly at the local level.
The mayors of Miami and New York have said they want their cities to be cryptocurrency capitals, and there are community-specific currency projects in various stages of development.
“Officials are making extensive statements about the usefulness of cryptocurrencies,” said Tonantzin Carmona, a researcher at the Brookings Institution.
“They focus on what good could come out of this technology and ignore the real risks.”
In March, Carmona published a research paper on the potential danger posed by mayors’ enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies.
She feared being attacked on social media, but instead says her arguments resonated with the small community of cryptoskeptics, who helped her realize that she was not a lonely voice.
“There’s a difference between haters and critics,” she said.
Bank of England: Crypto Crashes Show Need for Tougher Rules
© 2022 AFP
Citation: Cryptocurrency skeptics look to bend the ear of regulators (2022, September 5), retrieved September 17, 2022 from https://techxplore.com/news/2022-09-cryptocurrency-skeptics-ear.html
This document is protected by copyright. Except for fair trade for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is for informational purposes only.