Is Cryptocurrency good for Korea?
Is Cryptocurrency a social evil? Or can it be a force for positive change in Korea? If we are to believe some of the narratives from the global mainstream media, cryptocurrency is simply all about Bitcoin and it’s price. It’s about men sitting at home in their pajamas, promising their families they will become millionaires, ruining the lives of those around them, whilst contributing nothing to the world. The Korean cryptocurrency Market has made a lot of millionaires but has also ruined many lives in Korea.
Viewpoints Outside The Korean Cryptocurrency Markets
Outside of the Korean crypto industry, we can breakdown cryptocurrency commentators into three different groups:
- Negative viewpoints towards crypto in the political arena.
- Positive views on Cryptocurrency in politics.
- The mainstream media.
All three players are exceptionally important when it comes to shaping global opinion on Cryptocurrency markets. Politicians, in particular, wield significant power when it comes to regulation of the space.
We will first examine each of these groups thoughts on crypto, before examining the social good that cryptocurrency can bring to the world.
Negative Views On Cryptocurrency In Politics
On the 14th March 2018, the US Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment held a committee to discuss cryptocurrency. Brad Sherman addressed the committee on behalf of banks. We think that he does a great job summing up all the negative views on cryptocurrencies in the political arena. Mr. Sherman had the following to say about cryptocurrencies:
“Cryptocurrencies are a crock. What social benefit do they provide? Well.. they allow a few dozen men in my district to sit in their pajamas on the couch all day and tell their wives they are going to be millionaires.”
“They help terrorists… and criminals move money around the world. They help tax evaders. They help startup companies commit fraud, take the money and 1% of the time they actually create a useful business. But then again… I dare say that some tiny percent of all larceny and crime helps finance something that turns out to be useful.”
“It hurts the US government in two ways, our control… ability to have the dollar be the chief means of international finance is what has underpinned our ability to impose sanctions and stop tax cheating and furthermore when we have people take the risk, we don’t encourage gambling. We encourage investment in the real economy.
But when you buy a Bitcoin, are you financing a new factory? No. Your gambling on its value for no social benefit. Now I know, this bit… Errr… that these cryptocurrencies are popular. they’re popular with guys who want to sit in their pajamas and tell their wives that they are going to be millionaires. And, they’re popular with those that have read Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead and believe these are the new canons… the new divinely inspired documents of our age. But they are harmful and they are harmful in one other way and that is synergy. Is the benefit that the US government gets by issuing currency. It is the float, it is the fact we do not pay interest on newly created dollars. We lose that as well.”
You may have read Mr. Sherman’s statement and have been nodding in approval or shaking your head thinking he is wrong. Either way, having an open mind and having an informed viewpoint is always a good thing.
Positive Views on Cryptocurrency in Politics
On the 18th of March 2018, the Financial Stability Board (which was chaired by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney) stated that “The FSB’s initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time.”
The chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission made a statement to the Senate Banking Committee on Feb 6th, 2018. The statement revealed that the CFTC would take a “do no harm” approach when it came to cryptocurrency regulation. J. Christopher Giancarlo continued by saying that this is a “new digital era” for the financial markets and that cryptocurrencies have resulted in a “paradigm shift” in how the world views payments and financial processes. He went on to say that ignoring such innovation “will not make them go away, nor is it a responsible regulatory response.”
Mr. Rounds then went on to ask if Bitcoin was “A commodity? Or are they a security? Or are they both?” Mr. Giancarlo explained that Bitcoin has characteristics of multiple different things. He goes on to say:
“My 30-year-old niece, who has bought Bitcoin years ago and she is a HODL. She says I’m going to own it, I don’t know what’s going to become of it. But I want to hang on to it. She’s not a fraudster or a manipulator, she’s just a kid and believes in it and I was fascinated talking to her. I think she represents a lot of folks that think there is something in this, I want to hold onto it. In that record, from our point of view, it’s a commodity.”
In politics, it is very clear that some do see value in the innovation happening in the cryptocurrency space. Mr. Giancarlo makes it very clear that just because his niece holds Bitcoin, she should not be called a manipulator or a fraudster. Honest “kids” who just believe in Bitcoin, should not be tarnished with the same brush as terrorists or fraudsters.
Maybe you disagree. But many of you will probably know honest, hardworking people who own Bitcoin. Just be aware that if you believe that all bitcoin owners are scammers or terrorists, that you are probably giving this label to some people you know.
Cryptocurrency and the Mainstream Media
Much mainstream media reporting seems to be led by what that will get a lot of clicks or views. Therefore, it is understandable that much of the reporting on cryptocurrency is:
- Bitcoin is dead.
- Bitcoin hits a new all-time high. Or here’s our guide to buying Ripple at 30 cents a token.
In both situations, news outlets will get a lot of interest in their stories. However, we must be aware this is their business model and the media cannot be expected to have detailed knowledge of cryptocurrencies. Their job is to simply report the news and stories that will get a lot of interest from the general public. We must accept that clickbait titles and publishing extreme stories are the cost of ‘free’ news.
As the general public consuming this media, all we can do is be aware of the agenda of news channels. If any blame is to be leveled at the media, it is probably that whilst their revenue models incentivize them to create sensational stories, they could give more coverage to proponents of cryptocurrency to give the public a more balanced viewpoint.
To Be Continued…