New Money Review podcast

New Money Review podcast

Cryptocurrency—who’s in charge?

November 04, 2021

Cryptocurrency is an experimental technology. But it’s also now a $2.5trn market with growing and increasingly complex linkages to the traditional financial system—whether through ETFs, the futures market, central clearing, repo or prime brokerage.

So who’s in charge if things go wrong, as they inevitably will at some point?

To answer that question, I invited Angela Walch, a professor of law at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and a research associate at the Centre for Blockchain Technologies at University College London, to the New Money Review podcast.

Walch was one of the first academics to look in detail at the governance of cryptocurrency, a topic often downplayed by promoters of the idea that cryptocurrency networks are decentralised, immutable and trustless.

In a recent testimony to the US Senate committee on banking, housing and urban affairs, Walsh warned that “flaws in academic, industry, and public understanding of cryptocurrencies can taint policy decisions, embedding risk to be revealed when reality bites.”

Listen to the podcast to hear Angela Walch share her views on:

  • Why the reality of cryptocurrency governance doesn’t match the narrative
  • Cryptocurrency and systemic risk
  • The declining trust in financial system governance
  • How decentralised is bitcoin and DeFi?
  • Where hidden power resides within cryptocurrency systems
  • Past episodes of critical bugs in bitcoin and ethereum
  • Insider trading and information asymmetry in crypto
  • Applying the existing infrastructure rules to cryptocurrency
  • Why we need a new regulator for cryptocurrency—and fast
  • Why crypto system operators gain limited liability by default