The blowout last month of the stablecoin TerraUSD gave cryptocurrency skeptics the chance to start patting themselves on the back over the potential beginning of the end for the controversial digital assets.
And there was fallout for the industry. The price of cryptocurrencies, including the popular bitcoin, dropped while crypto companies, such as Coinbase, began chopping costs in a big way, including cutting employees.
But that lingering cloud over the 21st-century form of currency may be masking what continue to be significant subsequent crypto developments that suggest it’s long from over for the billion-dollar industry. Just this week, three substantive crypto developments demonstrate the staying power of the movement as it keeps building an ecosystem that will help it survive.
At the top of the list was the introduction of a bipartisan crypto bill Tuesday that would help create a regulatory framework that crypto advocates have been seeking for years to help establish the industry. This bill may not survive, but the industry has been increasing its influence in Washington and hedging its bets with other approaches pending, increasing the odds legislation will eventually pass muster with Congress.
In another example of crypto’s persistence, the big-name retail brokers Fidelity and Charles Schwab announced this week that they’re teaming with two powerful trading firms, Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial, to build a trading platform that will usher more consumers into the crypto market. They are the types of companies that can afford to bet big on an industry, but don’t make foolish investments.
Finally, on a smaller scale, PayPal is continuing its campaign to bring its customers crypto services. The company said this week that PayPal users would now be able to transfer their crypto assets to other venues or wallets, in addition to their existing ability to use crypto for purchases and buy and sell the currency. As PayPal’s senior vice president of blockchain, crypto and digital currencies, Jose Fernandez da Ponte, told TechCrunch: “This move shows we’re in this for the long term.”
Coincidence or not, PayPal and the accounting firm Deloitte this week also delivered results of a survey of 2,000 U.S. senior retail executives that showed 87% of them see a “competitive advantage” in accepting digital currencies.
While none of these headlines ensures the future of crypto, they all suggest the story isn’t over and that there is something worth continuing to pay attention to in this new financial technology. If not the currencies themselves, the technologies continue to fascinate a new generation of investors and consumers.
Speaking to a CFA Society in Chicago in March, billionaire private equity investor Orlando Bravo said he recognized the importance of crypto when he witnessed young talent gravitating to it.
“I am a big fan of the (crypto) movement and what it means,” said Bravo, a founder and managing partner at Thoma Bravo. “It means being decentralized, it means less intermediaries, it means equality, it means peer-to-peer, it means less intervention–and all of it is the same theme and it’s really empowering.”
He concluded: “Young people today want their own culture and they want their own financial system and they’re going to create it.”
Indeed, ATM-like kiosks to buy and sell crypto are popping up all over the U.S. and merchants are increasingly devising ways to accept it. The price of bitcoin has also stabilized this week at $30,000, which is a long way from where it started.
What doesn’t kill crypto may simply make it stronger.