Opinion

East vs. West: Will Asia Rule Cryptocurrency?

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Since cryptocurrency and blockchain technology hit the mainstream there has been two driving entities trying to push the advancement of this new wave. On the one hand, there is the East which China being the original cryptocurrency capital, only to be overtaken by Japan and South Korea. On the other side is the West, with the US sitting as the main power. 

Both sides of the world have been big drivers in both blockchain and cryptocurrency, but they have very different approaches to it, especially when it comes to the regulations. The US has, up until this point, not been as harsh as China with its outright bans, but it has been stringent and slow on the uptake.

Then, disregarding China, there are other Asian countries that have been far more progressive and welcoming of cryptocurrency and the regulation of the space. For example, Japan in the early days, labeled crypto the same as money while China, for its anti-crypto stance, is driving blockchain growth.

To give some greater insight into the divide across the hemispheres, Hester Peirce, Commissioner at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, spoke with Longhash about how the East could well take the lead in this space. 

“What I’ve heard from people here [in Singapore] is that they’re avoiding the US, and that’s consistent with what I’ve heard from projects I’ve talked to in the US,” Peirce said

She says people who want to base their work in the US tell her that they’re “based somewhere else because it doesn’t make sense to be based in the US until there’s more clarity.” 

Singapore, on the other hand, she added, “is providing clarity in a way that we haven’t yet done. And making that clarity such that you don’t always have to do something as a securities offering if that’s not really what it’s about.” 

The US has not only been quiet on the future of blockchain and crypto, they have made some harsh statements in the past which are really off putting for the growth of the industry.  In his first tweet on the topic, US President Donald Trump said, “I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air.” 

More so, America’s problem is not that crypto regulation is too strict, it’s that it’s confusing. Peirce added, “I think clarity is the primary issue because most people I’ve talked to say: just tell us what the regime is and we’ll work within it.” 

There does indeed seem to be a technological arms race on the horizon, and while it will be important to regulate it, the advancement of the space should not be stymied by overly harsh, or cautious approach.

Darryn Pollock
Darryn has been interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space since he heard about Bitcoin in 2015. He then decided to use his journalism degree to report on this fascinating fintech space in 2016, and has not looked back since.

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