Bitcoin has had a string of bad luck recently, with an SEC statement on unregulated exchanges, reports of Japanese regulators shutting down exchanges, and a major incident at Binance in which compromised user accounts were used to manipulate the price of viacoin.
The SEC has been bumping its gums about crypto for weeks but there was nothing in its latest report which predicted impending doom for cryptocurrency exchanges. Similarly, it turns out that the Japanese watchdog wasn’t wielding the banhammer indiscriminately; rather it was focusing on a couple of small, unlicensed exchanges whose existence has little bearing on the nation’s cryptocurrency trade. Finally, the Binance incident ended happily, with the fraudulent trades reset and balances restored. Not only did the attackers fail to profit, but they actually wound up losing out on the scam
Regulatory stories have dominated the news cycle once again, and most of them were American. The tone coming from the west versus that from the east has been tangibly different. This week alone, Asia has brought us news of a South Korean travel site accepting a dozen cryptos as payment and a Taiwanese airline following suit. Instead of merchant adoption, all we seem to hear in the West are pronouncements on how ICOs are liable for class action lawsuits and cryptocurrencies are commodities.
In fairness to regulators, they’re just doing their job, even if their overzealousness is causing investors to become more confused than ever about what exactly they’re buying into. The truth is, officials from competing agencies don’t know what to make of crypto, and until they can multilaterally reach a consensus, perhaps they should refrain from issuing contradictory decrees.