Originally published on CoinSpice on May 27, 2019.
TL;DR: The Peter Ryan Report is a series on the CoinSpice Podcast Network. Each episode, Ryan examines the world of cryptocurrency from a perspective you’re not likely to hear anywhere else. In episode 4, he discusses tension between those excited by institutions entering the cryptocurrency space, and those working for regular commercial adoption. ETFs. Giant regulated exchanges. Banking custody solutions. The problem is they’re all exactly what Bitcoin was a reaction to. Ryan is steeped in the ecosystem, having been a noted analyst at larger news outlets and, more recently, Executive Producer for a new documentary on Amazon Prime, Rizqi Presents: Blockchain, a six part series exploring crypto in-depth. He’s also head of Ryan Research. This podcast episode is available embedded in the article below, and on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Radio Public, Breaker, PocketCasts, PodBean, and Overcast.
When Institutional? Waiting for Bitcoin Saviors
Episode 4 is a look at the meme institutional is coming! And it is alluring. Just the mere entrance of mercantile futures exchanges, CME and Cboe, at the end of 2017 was enough to run bitcoin prices parabolic … for a time. The big boys acknowledging crypto’s ascent can only be a great thing, right?
But why did they ever notice? What gave crypto value at all? Someone had to use it, demonstrate it, make it intelligible enough to grow something like a viable ecosystem. Be it the Bitcoin Pizza Guy (who never stops getting teased about tens of millions dollars for two pizzas back in 2010) or Silk Road, use cases were made long before legacy finance ever gave crypto a thought.
And really why was cryptocurrency birthed in the first place? What gave it its go? The historical record is somewhat clear here: institutions were thought to be rent-seekers, social climbers, those who arbitrarily placed themselves and their interests between those of freer market choices. Manipulators. Scammers, and worse. Nearly all of society’s ills, especially around the time of 2008 and the worldwide financial crisis, could be traced back to institutional finance in one form or another. It is strange, beyond ironic, so many now seek to weave crypto and institutional investment together, hoping this time it’ll be different.