This year’s World Economic Forum in Davos hosted a variety of the world’s most influential investors, public figures and world leaders. Many topics were discussed ranging from Japan’s economic outlook to how social media is changing the way we inform ourselves. But without a doubt in most of the interviews, one topic stole the show: Cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin was pretty much the most talked topic in Davos and this should not come as a surprise. With strong volatility and value that rose above $19,000 on December, it disrupted the markets and screamed for attention. And it definitely caught Davos’ attention.
Obviously, this topic unfolded itself as a double-edged sword in the forum. We saw all sides of the spectrum talking. Big bankers such as George Soros called Bitcoin a “speculation” asset whereas big time investors in Cryptocurrencies such as Neil Rimer, Co-Founder of Index Ventures, called it a “very convenient way to store value”.
One of the best panels of the event was called “The Crypto-Asset Bubble” and right when the conversation started Yang Yanqing— the moderator of the panel asked the forum to raise their hands if they were in favor of Bitcoin and most of them did, including Neil Rimer. He considers himself an “investor of technology and innovation” and his starting argument in favor of Bitcoin came when the moderator asked what would happen if there is a collapse of Bitcoin’s value. “Most currencies have collapsed but all of them have recovered.” He also added that Bitcoin is “one of the most audacious, generous and profound inventions he’s witnessed.”
Panel image via the World Economic Forum
Then the conversation shifted towards monetary policy and the flaws central banks have. “When we give too much money, it causes inflation and when we give too little money, it causes deflation. This hurts people” said Cecilia Skingsley, Deputy Governor of the Swedish Central Bank. This is precisely why Bitcoin was created, to stop central banks from controlling money flow and to stop exposing people to fiat currencies being vulnerable to political interests.
When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin and wrote Bitcoin’s White Paper he said that people had lost their faith in central banks when we had the 2008 recession so he wanted to solve the problem by making peer-to-peer payments. Jennifer Zhu Scott, Principal of Radian Partners, touched upon this idea in a unique way. She argued that we are still in the “infant stage of a potential multi-decade project” and to say that the technology is perfect is wrong. Bitcoin’s price has been targeted as the most important aspect around it but this has been misleading and investors are joining the herd thanks to it. She argues that the real deal behind it is “the fact that we are talking about Bitcoin in Davos with a Nobel Prize Winner, Central Banker and seasoned investor makes it a powerful idea.”
Now that we saw Bitcoin taking the central arena in Davos, what’s next? For it to truly become mainstream, do we need Bitcoin regulation? Will the government work together with Crypto enthusiasts to join the Crypto-World?