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May 21, 2020

Episode 004

BlockFi, Chainalysis &


In Conversation With

BlockFi Founder and CEO Zac Prince recently tweeted that in the aftermath of coronavirus, the company does not intend to participate in a recession.

“If there was ever a time for cryptocurrency to shine, especially bitcoin, I think it’s this macroeconomic environment. And for Ethereum, we’re very bullish on the continued rapid adoption of stablecoins that we’re seeing. So we’re feeling great about the assets that we have on the platform. We’re feeling great about the products and services that we offer for those assets. And we are already back at the exact same growth rates that we were seeing prior to that single day of severe volatility in the crypto markets about a month ago. Black Thursday exactly.”

Nisa asked Prince about the bifurcated regulatory approach between federal and state governments to cryptocurrency throughout the crisis and what it means for crypto and BlockFi, in response to which he said:

“I think it’s going to be more of the same. I’m in general someone that would bet against any type of massively coordinated regulatory effort, whether that’s coordination between state and federal or the different bodies of the federal government that could potentially regulate something. And also if it’s coordination on a global scale where multiple countries need to collaborate to get something done. I think all of that stuff is really hard and we don’t anticipate any major changes happening this year for the cryptocurrency regulatory environment in the US and especially given that everyone’s focus is now rightfully on health issues related to COVID-19.”

Prince also offered his predictions for Ethereum going forward.

“I’m really bullish on Ethereum…We’re bullish on it for two key themes right now. The first is [the] adoption of stablecoins. Stablecoin market caps are growing tremendously. I think they’ve doubled over the last three or four months from around $4 billion to now over $8 billion….Most of the stablecoin transactions that occur are running on Ethereum. So Ethereum is the settlement and payment processing network for this activity that’s growing tremendously. So that’s the first thing that makes us bullish on Ethereum. The second is just the ongoing development of the Ethereum blockchain and ongoing development of other applications including DeFi that are built on top of it.”

Onchain Reaction

Philip Gradwell, chief economist at Chainalysis, discussed what’s been unfolding on the blockchain in the past week.

“It’s been a post halving week. The Bitcoin price came close to $10K, near its year-to-date highs, but it hasn’t had that post-halving rocket to the moon that some people had been hoping for.”
Bitcoin flows into exchanges have decreased in the last week, reversing the pre-halving build-up… Tether flows out of exchanges increased, reversing the buildup of balances.
Crypto-to-crypto exchanges continue the long-term trend of sending bitcoin to crypto-to-fiat exchanges… Eastern Asia continues its long-term trend of sending bitcoin to North America.

Governance and Guardrails: What Does It Take to Change US Government Policy?

Kristin Smith, executive director at US-based trade association Blockchain Association, described the three elements to changing policy in any industry, any combination of which are needed to get the job done. The first is utility, or demand for the product or service, like Uber. She said:

“Crypto has a problem in that outside of our bubble that you and I spend a lot of time in most everyday people don’t yet see the compelling reason as to why crypto is useful. And as a result, lawmakers who are elected by these people don’t necessarily care very much because they don’t hear people talking about how great it was to transact in bitcoin yesterday because nobody’s really doing that.”

The two other levers that can be useful in creating policy are relationships with policymakers, because people want to help their friends, and having a compelling message, which crypto has tapped into a little bit.

On political fundraising, Smith had a warning.

“I can say fundraising…goes back to relationships as being one of the three levers you have to change policies. It is the easiest way to build relationships…Most mature adult industries…they’re champions with political fundraising. And so if crypto wants to be part of that process and see good outcomes, it’s an unfortunate fact but it’s a tool that everyone else is using and we’re at a disadvantage if we’re not using it too.”

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Gerelyn Terzo
Gerelyn caught wind of bitcoin in mid-2017 and after learning about the peer-to-peer nature of Satoshi's creation has never looked back. Previously she covered institutional investing and fintech for several major trade publications. Gerelyn resides in Verona, N.J.

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