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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The elites who have corrupted capitalism are stoking a crypto revolution

So by criminalising cheap energy, capital markets are now making a moral judgment, which at its extremes means energy must become expensive and unreliable for everyone. And in turn, this creates revolutionary conditions, I believe, not so much on the scale of 1848 or 1917, but with the profound repercussions that followed the Reformation.

In their own way, the DeFi advocates are responding just as the first Protestants did to the sprawling and corrupt Roman Catholic magisterium. The first Lutherans only wanted to practice Christianity. DeFi’s capitalists just want to practice capitalism. They want a market to do what a market should do – what it says on the tin.

“We’re nowhere close to the beautiful machinery of the capital markets,” acknowledges Jeremy Allaire, founder of financial services firm Circle. Using DeFi needs to be easier, he acknowledges, and he thinks it’s inevitable that the DeFi exchanges must make some accommodations with regulators too. But here things get really interesting.

A crypto exchange may be regulated in such a way that law enforcement can put a criminal exchange operator behind bars, while the lenders and borrowers remain anonymous. Not that the regulated finance world has a great track record of putting people behind bars, but this reality is very bad news for the taxman.

Nation states would be powerless to prevent these semi-regulated but viable exchanges from springing into existence. Regulation without taxation is half a fish – but for a sovereign state, better than no fish at all.

Add to the equation the potential for mischief of China, with its vast foreign exchange holdings, and Russia, and the DeFi world already has a running start. I’m sure that when Larry Fink and Mark Carney next clink glasses of gluhwein at the World Economic Forum in Davos to congratulate themselves on a job well done, they will only be barely aware of what they’re helping to usher into existence.

Andrew Orlowski is founder of the research network Think of X and tweets at @andreworlowski

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