CBDCs or stablecoins? If you ask Randal Quarles, former United States Federal Reserve vice-chair, there’s no contest. Quarles has a history of standing firmly against the use of CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) and remained consistent in a recent interview on the podcast, Banking with Interest. His main concerns spawn from the need for centralized control by the government, an argument that’s emerged in prior points against CBDCs after reported data mining by China using the digital yuan.
While Quarles appears less worried about data mining, he fears CBDCs may squash what crypto set out to do. Quarles’ argument radiates the central core beliefs of crypto, which aim to empower people’s financial autonomy rather than have them dependent on banks and large financial institutions. He feels that CBDCs will hamper inclusion in the same ways that centralized banks always have.
“You’re going to need an account at the bank, the way you need to use money now,” said Quarles, “and in addition […] a cellphone and wireless access, and all that is making inclusion harder.” (Cointelegraph)
Instead, Quarles sits strongly in favor of the less centralized promise of stablecoins, which can be run by private companies as opposed to the Fed. Part of his proclivity towards stablecoins in particular has to do with remaining competitive internationally in the financial space. As for his proposed outlook on our domestic economic status, it wasn’t so great:
“Given the intensity of inflation, the degree to which unemployment has been driven down—to bring that back into an equilibrium, it’s unlikely the Fed is going to be able to manage that to a soft landing,” Quarles went on to say. “The effect is likely to be a recession.” (Bloomberg)
Woof. As rates continue to rise and inflation shows no signs of slowing, this is the last thing people want to hear. The Fed isn’t assuaging any fears with its two-day, closed-door meetings taking place this week. Jerome Powell gave an inkling on what to expect at a panel discussion a few weeks back, promising 0.5% rate hikes in an effort to curb rampant inflation. He also implied that this percentage rate hike would not be the last, possibly recurring over the next few months. (Coindesk)
Meanwhile, the SEC is bulking up its crypto division to meet the growing need for a safe crypto adoption. This division didn’t just expand its headcount, but it also lengthened its name from the Cyber Unity to the Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit. SEC Enforcement Director Gurbir S. Grewal commented, saying the unit “will be at the forefront of protecting investors and ensuring fair and orderly markets in the face of these critical challenges.”
"By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the SEC will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets,” added Gary Gensler, SEC Chair, “while continuing to identify disclosure and controls issues with respect to cybersecurity.” (Decrypt)
Apparently, Gensler was making a case for an employee increase for the better part of eight months prior to the new hires. As a proponent for growth in the crypto space, Gensler takes regulation very seriously and enacts something resembling an open-door policy with crypto firms in hopes of providing clarity for those who seek it. This increase in staffing should hopefully lead to further protections for investors. As for further regulatory infrastructure, citizens continue to wait. (Cointelegraph)
Outside of government walls, crypto projects continue to thrive on the open market—especially decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs, for short). Syndicate, the popular DAO taking Ethereum wallets to Web3 using social networking, reportedly received another $6 million in its most recent funding rounding, bringing its total accumulated amount to $28 million dollars, A staggering number denoting a strong faith in their product, investors including popular names in crypto like OpenSea, Andreessen Horowitz, Uniswap Labs, and Yield Guild Games all contributed to the lump sum. (Decrypt)
Also, turns out that more traffic on Ethereum caused a spike in Ethereum Name Service (ENS), the platform that allows users on the Ethereum network to represent themselves with human-readable names instead of Ethereum addresses. This could be attributed to a surge in interest in both Web3 and NFTs. (Cointelegraph)
Either way, it shows that people are not only furthering their adoption of crypto, but they’re also learning to leverage the ecosystem for convenience. Remember the first time you learned how to use voice recording on iMessage? Or how to use dark mode (not as cool as moon mode, but whatever…)? This is that same moment, only for crypto. People are personalizing their crypto experiences because they are getting comfortable. With a lot of things that feel out of our control, like rate hikes and inflation, crypto gives us autonomy. It gives us something we can make our own.
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Top market movers as of May 6, 2022
- Tron (TRX) +27.4%
- Algorand (ALGO) +7.5%
- Ethereum Name Service (ENS) +6.5%
- Horizon (ZEN) +6.4%