U.S. Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller has warned that crypto prices could fall to zero at some point. “Please don’t be surprised and don’t expect taxpayers to socialize your losses” when that happens, the Fed governor stressed.
Crypto Prices Could Go to Zero, Fed Official Warns
Federal Reserve Governor Christopher J. Waller warned about the danger of investing in cryptocurrency on Thursday at the Global Interdependence Center Conference on “digital money, decentralized finance, and the puzzle of crypto.”
“To me, a crypto asset is nothing more than a speculative asset, like a baseball card. If people believe others will buy it from them in the future at a positive price, then it will trade at a positive price today,” he described. “If not, its price will go to zero.”
He added: “If people want to hold such an asset, then go for it. I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t collect baseball cards, either.” However, the Fed governor warned:
If you buy crypto assets and the price goes to zero at some point, please don’t be surprised and don’t expect taxpayers to socialize your losses.
“Several prominent crypto-related firms have filed for bankruptcy, including payment platforms, exchanges, crypto lenders, and hedge funds,” Waller noted, adding that both retail and institutional investors have suffered from the crypto winter.
The Fed governor proceeded to voice concerns about banks and other financial intermediaries engaging in crypto activities “that present a heightened risk of fraud and scams, legal uncertainties, and the prevalence of inaccurate and misleading financial disclosures.” He stressed that banks considering engaging in crypto activities must meet the “know your customer” and “anti-money laundering” requirements.
So far, spillovers to other parts of the financial system from the stress in the crypto industry have been minimal.
The Fed official is also skeptical of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Last October, he said he is “not a big fan” of the Fed issuing the digital dollar but is open to having someone convince him that “this is something that’s really valuable.”
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