It’s enough to give cryptocurrency enthusiasts whiplash. Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency flag-bearer, rose 10-fold last year. Towards the end of December, it hit a peak of nearly $20,000. The fall since has been as precipitous as the climb was dizzying. It is now under $6,000.
This should not be too surprising given the regulatory messaging. There might be a few countries where it is viewed benevolently—see Japan—but from the US to India, governments are less than sanguine and have sent clear signals that they intend to crack down.
Interesting as the bitcoin saga is, it’s one facet of a larger issue. Over in Europe, banking bigwigs are issuing similar warnings about the instability big tech could cause as it moves into the banking space. They point to an unhealthy concentration of power as giant tech groups move deeper into the payments space, with the ability to leverage the vast amounts of user data they possess.
This is the flip side of fintech. The changes technology will bring in the financial sector will be unpredictable—and traditional actors are being put on notice.
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