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The US government shutdown might be making crypto winter even worse

January 15, 2019

Though many cryptocurrency enthusiasts are not fans of regulators, it turns out the industry needs the feds after all (if one assumes that the industry wants to increase adoption of crypto-assets by Wall Street firms, that is).

Stuck in a holding pattern: The most high-profile example is the launch of Bakkt, the forthcoming digital asset exchange from the owner of the New York Stock Exchange. Or rather, its delayed launch. Bakkt can’t get off the ground until the government reopens so that regulators can open a 30-day public comment period. That’s according to CoinDesk, which has posted a detailed look at how the shutdown is “halting crypto progress on Wall Street.”

The absence of gatekeepers: Regulators are not available approve (or disapprove) of much-anticipated crypto-related investment products, like Ethereum futures and Bitcoin exchange-traded funds. Vince Molinari, cofounder of the trading platform Templum, told CoinDesk that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is likely to delay initiatives seen as important for Wall Street’s continued adoption of the technology. These include much-anticipated guidance on custody and the secure storage of crypto-assets. “I think the entire space gets pushed back,” he said. (Also see “The next generation of ICOs will actually have to follow the rules.”)

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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