Cryptoverse looks towards increased regulation

The FTX disaster fuels demands for more oversight as industry experts maintain the problems are not inherent in the system


Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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Published: Sat 31 Dec 2022, 7:27 PM

Last updated: Sat 31 Dec 2022, 9:08 PM

The cryptocurrency world looks tepidly towards the new year with possibilities of more regulation and oversight, as disaster after disaster struck the asset in 2022. Sector analyst maintain that the essential arguments in favour of virtual assets and blockchain remain relevant, and new norms will emerge in the year that will make it better

Rising interest rates, lower risk appetite due to geopolitics and the biggest of them all — the collapse in crypto exchange FTX — resulted in an unprecedented upheaval in the crytpoverse last year. While there were many investors who were looking to make a quick buck in 2022, most of them are now scurrying for cover.

Bitcoin, the digital coin that is almost synonymous with the sector, collapsed from $50,000 levels to less than $20,000 now. According to data from digital asset manager CoinShares, crypto funds have seen net inflows of $498 million in 2022, versus $9.1 billion in 2021, according to a Reuters report, which estimates that Bitcoin has lost 60 per cent of its value, while the wider crypto market has shrunk by $1.4 trillion.

So how will it be in 2023?

Crypto watchers believe that the failure of FTX, which has led to one of the biggest runs on the sector, should not be a reason to malign the entire crypto universe. Most of them hold that it was more an issue of regulation and oversight than an actual inherent fault with cryptocurrencies themselves.

The FTX issue also highlights the needs for the “cryptocurrency industry to harness blockchains’ inherent transparency to build an economic system that holds itself to a higher standard than traditional finance,” research firm Chainalysis wrote in a recent report. “With the right data, tools, guidance, and partnerships, the cryptocurrency industry can hold its businesses and people accountable to protect consumers by design,” Chainalysis’ founder Michael Gronager wrote in a recent blog.

According to experts in the field, DeFi, implying decentralised finance, should be the way forward. “No other sector of the crypto ecosystem embodies transparency more than DeFi, where all transactions are visible and the code behind protocols is in the open for all to see. The entire crypto industry should strive for this level of transparency,” Gronager says.

Many share the opinion that the FTX fiasco has set back the growth and resilience of the crypto ecosystem by several months, if not years, Deutsche Borse’s crypto finance arm wrote in a recent report. “With trust decreasing, yet again, it will become more and more complex for retail investors, and institutions to enter the space. As a consequence of this incident, it is likely that regulators across the globe will increase regulatory scrutiny on intermediaries, such as centralized crypto exchanges,” the report said.

It the same time, the Deutsche Borse researchers felt that the innovations enabled by blockchain technology remain unchanged, as do the fundamental values of crypto, and the building of quality protocols and projects within the ecosystem will likely continue. “Digital assets are the financial instruments of tomorrow and should therefore be managed by regulatedfinancial intermediaries that have therequired expertise and ethics required to safekeep customer assets,” the report says.

Shivam Thakral, CEO of BuyUcoin.  - Supplied photo
Shivam Thakral, CEO of BuyUcoin. - Supplied photo

Shivam Thakral, CEO of BuyUcoin, India’s second longest running crypto exchange believes that in 2023, the crypto market will overcome the collapse of crypto giants like FTX and move towards a more mature phase with wiser investors and healthy regulations. “We need to create a global consensus around the regulatory framework for digital assets. We cannot have isolated policies for digital assets due to their global nature and need to work towards creating a transparent ecosystem where investors are made aware of the risks involved,” he said.

Bitcoin Daily Volumes remained fairly consistent throughout the 2022 even after the strong price correction, sending a ray of hope for the market.

Mahin Gupta, Founder of Liminal, a digital wallet infrastructure platform. - Supplied photo
Mahin Gupta, Founder of Liminal, a digital wallet infrastructure platform. - Supplied photo

Mahin Gupta, Founder of Liminal, a digital wallet infrastructure platform, strongly believes that Defi is the way forward and all the relevant stakeholders should utilize their collective wisdom to create a strong policy framework to nurture the growth of Defi. “Moving towards Defi at the earliest is the key to learning from FTX collapse and the onus lies on industry players to build a safety net around user funds. Self-custody or licensed custodian services should be actively used for storing digital assets which are under the complete control of the user,” Gupta says.

Today, India has an estimated 15 million cryptocurrency users. It is also home to 11 per cent of the global Web3.0 talents, employing nearly 75,000 blockchain professionals with 450+ Web3.0 and blockchain start-ups operating out of India. These figures alone signify the budding web3 ecosystem in India. Regulatory support will be crucial in driving the mass adoption of Defi and other crypto-related services.

Tarusha Mittal, COO and Cofounder of Dapps and UniFarm. - Supplied photo
Tarusha Mittal, COO and Cofounder of Dapps and UniFarm. - Supplied photo

Tarusha Mittal, COO and Cofounder of Dapps and UniFarm says the FTX collapse is good on the macro level for the industry, as users will yet again realise that web3 is all about decentralisation. “The companies that don’t have a strong foundation and have strong investments will be flushed out. Only real business models will thrive. FTX collapse is a good reminder that crypto is all about removing centralised bodies,” she said.

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