Alternative title: who will be the Harry Markopolos of cryptocurrencies? If you don’f2 pool bitcoin difficulty know who Harry Markopolos is, quickly google his name and come back to this article.
If you do, and you aren’t completely familiar with the relevance he has to the cryptocurrency world, let’s start with a little history. Why hasn’t the “community” done “X”? Simultaneously, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by VCs and over a couple billion dollars raised through ICOs in the past year or so, not one entity has been created by the community with the power or moral authority to rid the space of bad apples and criminals. Where is the regulatory equivalent of FINRA for cryptocurrencies?
Part of this is because some elements in the community tacitly enable bad actors. Bitcoin infrastructure was set-up and co-opted by Bitcoiners themselves, some of whom were bad actors from day one. There are many examples, including The DAO. 4 But the SEC already did a good dressing down of The DAO, so let’s look at BTC-e.
BTC-e is a major Europe-based exchange that has allegedly laundered billions of USD over the span of the past 6 years. In other cases, some entrepreneurs and investors in this space make extraordinary claims without providing extraordinary evidence. Such as, using cryptocurrency networks are cheaper to send money overseas than Western Union. But those who make these unfounded, feel-good claims are not held accountable or fact-checked by the market because many market participants are solely interested in the value of coins appreciating. Anything is fair game so as long as prices go up-and-to-the-right, even if it means hiring a troll army or two to influence market sentiment. Any working groups advising the government on policy are certainly worthy of investigation. Bitfinex eventually painted over these large losses by stealing from its own users, by socializing the deficits that took place in some accounts across nearly all user accounts.
Another user claims to have retained a lawyer and he did not have any haircut. Bitcoin industry has to avail themselves of. Yet there is little action by the cryptocurrency community to seek answers to the open questions surrounding Bitfinex. I wrote a detailed post several months ago on it and the only reporters who contacted me for follow-ups were from mainstream press. The latest series of drama began earlier this spring: Bitfinex sued Wells Fargo who had been providing correspondent banking access to Bitfinex’s Taiwanese banking partners.