Remember how the internet launched us into a new era? A similar occurrence is on the horizon, and it’s going to be even more revolutionary. What’s the spark this time? Blockchain technology. One of the more mainstream uses of this tech is DeFi (decentralized finance), more specifically cryptocurrency (even more specifically, Bitcoin). As public consumption and critique of crypto rise, so does the pressure on the government to regulate. Last month, the SEC stated it needed more time to think about allowing Bitcoin ETFs. This development doesn’t mean DeFi isn’t good; it simply means mass integration won’t be anything close to easy.
Simply, the decentralization of currencies is becoming perceived as an inevitable development in the history of global finance. Blockchain, Bitcoin and co. are all widely debated topics. But one issue with these conversations is the lack of understanding. If we don’t understand these technologies, we can’t accurately discuss their possible applications or shortcomings. So, let’s clear up some confusion.
First, people tend to conflate cryptocurrency with blockchain technology when the latter is much vaster. It’s a seamless, decentralized way to create efficient systems and transfer information seamlessly—whether it’s health care, finance or anything else that requires security. The authors of this article don’t understand the full impact of blockchain, but we know that it’s a wave of the future that is already sending vibrations our way. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency is only one application of blockchain technology. Ethereum is a programmable blockchain with which innovators can create endless dapps (decentralized applications). So, distinguishing cryptocurrency from blockchain is the first step in joining the conversation.
Second, we should understand the DeFi movement. Decentralized finance is the umbrella over cryptocurrency. The authors of this article believe that the DeFi movement is a positive development for society. Anytime you eliminate intermediaries—whether it’s governments or private institutions—and let the people transact with one another, you open up new opportunities for economic freedom. No, it won’t replace traditional currency, but it will offer people a choice and allow them to break out of the confines of conventional transactions. Our global financial system creates winners and losers and causes many social problems that are beyond the scope of this article. DeFi could have an honest try at solving these problems.
Finally, even though DeFi will probably be a positive for us, this possibility doesn’t negate the imminent downfalls. It won’t go mainstream without ample pushback and criticism. The government still is proceeding with caution—for good reason. We have many unanswered questions about cryptocurrency: namely, who’s using it, who’s tracking it and how people are using it. In Florida, we’re seeing that Bitcoin may have played a role in what’s being known as “Gaetz Gate.” Under-regulation of cryptocurrency could lead to tokens like Bitcoin being used for nefarious and dangerous activities such as drugs and sex trafficking.
So, we can understand why the SEC is pumping the brakes on the decision to make Bitcoin an ETF. However, this is a balancing act because too much regulation of cryptocurrency could stunt the growth of our financial future. We’ll soon see how complex these calls are as the debate moves to the forefront.
David Grasso is the host of the Follow the Profit Podcast, where he shares simple ideas for financial success and lessons learned the hard way. He is also the CEO of Bold TV, Inc, a nonprofit media company dedicated to entrepreneurship and cultural empowerment.