In this episode of Big Tech, host Taylor Owen speaks with Ephrat Livni, a lawyer and journalist who reports from Washington on the intersection of business and policy for DealBook at The New York Times. One of Livni’s focuses has been how cryptocurrencies have moved from the periphery of the financial world into the mainstream.
The cryptocurrency movement originated with a commitment to the decentralization of money and the removal of intermediaries and government to enable person-to-person financial transactions. Early on, governments viewed cryptocurrency as a tool for illicit criminal activity and a threat to institutional power. In the last two years, cryptocurrency has moved into the mainstream, with sporting arenas named after crypto companies and flashy celebrity endorsements and Super Bowl ads. Crypto markets are extremely volatile with great interest from retail investors and venture capitalists. There’s a lot of enthusiasm about crypto, but not a lot of information.
With crypto moving into the mainstream, companies that wish to create trust with their customers must be more transparent, accept regulations and act more like the institutions they initially sought to disrupt. As Livni and Owen discuss, this is not a sector that regulators can ignore: it is complicated, fast-changing, multinational, and demanding a great deal of thought about how best to proceed.