China FUD and Pseudo-Divisions, September 20-27


Following another iteration of the ongoing Chinese crackdown on cryptocurrency, a particularly poignant narrative on Crypto Twitter suggests that by banning Bitcoin (BTC), China has finally placed itself on the dark side of the struggle, while the West must now resolutely collect. Throw its weight on the other side by embracing cryptocurrency.

Certainly, this framework for thinking about the relationship between political power and decentralized finance attracts crypto allies. However, the news from the US gives few reasons to believe that policy makers there see the situation this way.

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American elites seem intent on preserving the existing financial system and constraining the growth of the digital asset space, if with less weighty toolkits than their Chinese counterparts. This halfway approach is likely to put the US somewhere in the middle of a dark/light continuum stretching from China to the still-elusive ideal of a society that has embraced a completely non-intermediate financial system.

Many Cryptocurrency Bans in China

Friday’s statement from the People’s Bank of China that caused the short-lived cryptocurrency market crash is at least the 19th example of a notable FUD wave that can be traced back to the Asian superpower in the past 12 years. Not only have hostile movements historically failed to deter the global growth of the crypto space – they sometimes cause massive advances for Bitcoin and its partners. in the medium term.

US regulators: more of the same

In the US, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler sat down with David Ignatius of The Washington Post to talk specifically about cryptocurrencies. We didn’t learn much new, as Gensler chose to resort to a host of onerous comparisons (and some more recent ones) to double down on his controversial position that most digital assets are securities. Speaking of stablecoins, the SEC chief likened them to “casino poker chips.”

Meanwhile, the country’s largest banking regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, could finally get a permanent chair at Cornell University, Professor Sully Umarova. Omarova is a vocal critic of both major banks and cryptocurrency – allegedly benefiting our “really dysfunctional financial system”.

Enforcement against crypto infrastructure?

Last week, the Treasury Department added the over-the-counter Russian and Czech cryptocurrency platform Suex to its list of Specially Designated Nationals with which U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing. This is the first time that the digital asset services provider has been targeted by US sanctions.

Suex has been penalized for allegedly helping cybercriminals process ransom payments. While it is unlikely that many legitimate US individuals and companies will move funds through this particular broker, the move could be indicative of the Biden administration’s emerging policy to target the central places of the digital asset ecosystem.