Columnist

We’re being shielded from reality by a bubble created in the shut down

IRINA LITCHFIELD: "...the storm might destroy almost all in its path, but those still standing will hold the foundation that will bring back the bull and send the bear to hibernate"

Roaming through what remained of the blockchain enthusiast crowd during North American Blockchain Conference in Miami, I could not help but feel a sense of being in a bubble.

I am referring not to the type we have all grown to love, not the bubble of accelerated growth – but the kind that provides protection from harsh reality.

By all means, the conference itself was a success; the crypto community showed up. Almost two thousand attendees gathered in Miami to support each other, to declare that we are here to stay bear or bull. However, the feeling of worry and unanswered questions loomed overhead like dark patches of clouds lurking around before thunderclouds declare their presence.

It took me a couple of days to be able to zoom in, to be able to pinpoint what is that bubble I am sensing. After all, everything seems fine. Bitcoin’s price somewhat stabilised, some even believe it bottomed. News has been pretty flat, really, besides Ethereum screwing up their Constantinople roll-out and getting incredibly lucky by catching the bug which initially caused the DAO hack. Several Crypto OGs announced their new “Next Big Thing” raising hopes and dreams of their loyal followers.

Nagging sense

It almost feels that the worst of it is behind us.

But the nagging sense of something being wrong kept occupying my consciousness. As beautiful Miami days rolled by and I spent time digging, observing and contemplating. I was determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.

As the conference was coming to an end, in the morning of the last day, I arrived at a conclusion. During my sunrise walk on south beach, it appeared as the first glimpse of sun smiled at me.

The partial US government shutdown is causing the feeling of false calmness. Remember the bubble I mentioned?  That’s it.

Wait. What? How does a partial US government shut down have anything to do with crypto space?

Simple answer

The answer is simple: the SEC (US Securities and Exchange Commission). Since it is a non-essential department of government, they had to shut down until the budget could be appropriated. So, due to lack of funding, everything that falls under its jurisdiction was put on hold.

Unable to proceed with the enforcement of violations of securities laws that obviously took place during the ICO boom – the action was also placed on hold.

There was a lot of uncertainty as nobody could tell how long the shutdown would last and what would be the side effects of a prolonged shutdown. If short staffed, would SEC prioritise issuance of new licenses to enforcement? After all, many pre-IPO ‘real’ companies are ready to price and issue.

I realised that the crypto industry was experiencing a blissful state of delusion for the time being.

As we start this week and finally the SEC is ready to open its doors, we must prepare for the enforcement. This, in my opinion, will create another whirlpool of bear rage. But rest assured, even though the inevitable storm might destroy almost all in its path, those still standing will hold the foundation that will bring back the bull and send the bear to hibernate.

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