Cryptocurrencies are, as expected, causing disruption, confusion, making money, losing money and generally generating chaos around the world.
The approach of regulators and lawmakers is so far from being standardized that it is almost funny. Cryptocurrencies are the subject of debate, disagreement and division.
In Miami, the Mayor has announced (via that authoritative channel, Twitter) that he will distribute crypto funds to city residents. The city has made a cool $21 million from trading in its ‘citycoin,’ Miamicoin, so not only is he about to declare a digital coin dividend, but he also believes that continued success might do away with the need to tax its citizens.
Further north, the mayor-elect in New York has declared that his city is going to be the biggest in cryptocurrencies. He wants to take his first three pay checks in Bitcoin and he wants to be at the center of where cryptocurrencies are at (dude). His critics are objecting to the idea of wanting to be at the centre of a pond of “scammers, pyramid schemes and empty promises” but it is unlikely he will listen.
Talking of scammers, the related buzz around NFTs is beginning to turn dark. One 12 year old boy is sitting on over $450,000 in cryptocurrency, having sold a set of cartoons of whales as NFTs. It also turns out that you can copy some NFTs by right-clicking as ‘saving as.’
So far it sounds like a party.
Across the world, however, the approach is a little different and a little stricter.
In Indonesia there are now questions about whether Muslims should get involved in the trade because cryptocurrencies are unstable and “contain elements of uncertainty, gambling or wagering, and harm.”
In China, as we know, trading in cryptocurrencies has been banned.
There is no longer any doubt that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. What is in doubt is what governments do about it. There will be no global, standardized way of dealing with cryptocurrencies but governments will try to regulate them and control them – if they can.
As we see this mess of cryptocurrencies mature, it may turn out that big tech and big finance will be the ones to bring them under control. In the last few days, Apple has admitted to be “considering a role” for cryptocurrencies, Mastercard has announced the launch of crypto cards in Asia, more and more companies are looking to accept them as online payment and a new Bitcoin upgrade (see below) will bring its usability in line with Ethereum, allowing it to execute smart contracts. Whatever happens, they are growing up.