DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision
Investigations are all about the crypto ecosystem, but a recent report regarding a US Department of Justice price manipulation crackdown was widely said to be the cause of market caps falling, and by a lot. Fundstrat, the ecosystem’s favorite financial professional crypto bull, is on record as welcoming government regulation, what it calls “adult supervision.”
Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision of Crypto
Legacy media, thanks to a Bloomberg article, ran wild with fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) this week, regarding a supposed US Department of Justice investigation of price manipulation. Weaker hands in response effectively sent bitcoin core (BTC) well below $8K, heading for 7, and the entire crypto market cap slid accordingly.
Debate about regulation in the US and around the world has raged the entirety of cryptocurrency’s near decade-long life. Bitcoin licensing in New York, senate hearings, G20 central bankers urging global crypto laws, the requisite jockeying and lobbying for exclusive access to regulators, taken together, seems to be slouching toward something major coming down from financial minders. And well-publicized recent hacks haven’t helped confidence. There seems to be a new initial coin offering scam daily.
Rumors the DOJ is teaming with US bitcoin futures regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and possibly patching-in the US Securities and Exchange Commission can spook animal spirits, of course. Anecdotal evidence abounds. Add to that six rather frightening words, when strung together by regulators, that make speculators’ ears perk, “neither confirm nor deny an investigation” becomes all the evidence anyone needs to dump positions. Even large exchange Bitfinex has been subpoenaed by the CFTC.
The ecosystem’s favorite bull, Thomas Lee of Fundstrat, in a client letter, put a finer point on happenings: “These stories have pressured the crypto market, as regulatory action (and related headline risk) reduces risk appetite and also is a further deterrent for near-term inflows from new investors. However, these actions signal that adult supervision is coming to crypto and adding such oversight incrementally improves the structural integrity and legitimacy for crypto-currency investor. In other words, in order for institutional investors to be more actively engaged in crypto markets, such adult supervision is a necessary precondition.”
Regulation is an Anathema to Bitcoin
Prior to welcoming crypto regulation, Mr. Lee ate a giant, warm slice of humble pie following his Consensus conference bump prediction of many thousands in BTC price increase. Just the reverse, of course, happened, and Mr. Lee, to his credit, reappeared on as many shows to take his medicine. He acknowledged getting it badly wrong, but ultimately attributed the decline due to unforeseen regulatory rumors and, ironically, saturation at the conference of hype.
In a slide presentation graphic, Fundstrat continued to use “welcome,” as in crackdowns being “welcome and also widely anticipated.” On price specific manipulation investigations, they urged “this probe is again, a very welcome development.”
To crypto enthusiasts, they are decidedly torn. On the one hand, nearly everyone will agree bitcoin was developed to essentially leave government regulatory environments. Government regulations are not issued out of benevolence toward the hoi polloi. No, rather they’re instead an effort to pick winners and losers in terms of which sector of businesses lobbied the hardest, greasing wheels of states in their direction. Regulations enforce burdens often on startups, insulating more established and connected businesses from too much competition. Corruption, then, can and does become institutional. Present day banking is proof enough. Bitcoin, in Satoshi’s vision, releases adopters from financial cartels, at least in theory. To invite regulators goes against everything crypto stands for.
On the other hand, regulation does seem to be inevitable. And if it is, shouldn’t the ecosystem get out in front? Seems rational enough, and that’s a generous reading of Mr. Lee and Fundstrat’s comments. Nevertheless, the company remains bullish on bitcoin core (BTC). They point to Coinbase in particular and its staggering growth to 20 million customers, and BTC related wallet downloads of more than 3.5 million. They do, however, hold to a degree of caution if headlines remain negative and mining rewards/price reach parity.
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