When in crypto: forget the G7
As we wrote on Friday, this weekend was a big one in the geopolitical space. Arguably the more important economic summit in the world, the G7, took place over the weekend in Cornwall, UK.
We also pointed out the cynical nature of these events. The summit is a very expensive photo opportunity for the leaders of seven of the richest countries in the world. As much as they claim that face-to-face time is vital to global cooperation, in reality, what happens is the leaders perform for the cameras for the benefit of the voters in their home countries.
Perhaps that explains why countries like Russia and China don’t push harder to be a part of this old boys (and Angela Merkel) club. They don’t have as much need to dance for cameras.
It also explains why the biggest takeaways from the weekend were really about saber rattling over domestic, hot-button issues — the US complaining about Chinese manipulation in the markets and Boris Johnson continuing to try to sell the idea that nothing is going to change in the post-Brexit UK.
Real economic issues of consequence are rarely brought up or dealt with in any meaningful way. Calling what happens mouth service is giving it too much credit.
And they didn’t even give one of the biggest and most important economic issues of this time mouth service. I’m referring to crypto.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the G7 remains uninterested in the discussion of crypto. Cynically, it threatens the power that they have and they likely feel that discussion on it — even in a small way — would just legitimize the space and they have little desire to do that.
Less cynically, they might not fully understand crypto and thus don’t want to come off as dumb. I mean, the young guy in the G7 room is 43. I’m not sure this is a group that is going to have its thumb on an emerging trend.
They’d all likely just wait and hope that crypto proves to be a trend that will be talked about in the same way that we joke about the Y2K panic the world had 22 years ago.
Telling though was that on the same weekend that the G7 was meeting and ignoring crypto, one of the largest economies in Africa was taking steps to further legitimize the space.
South Africa announced that it was taking steps to create a “phased and structured” regulation of cryptocurrencies.
This represents a change in direction from the laissez-faire approach that they had largely taken in the past and it’s a reflection of the growing popularity of the space among everyday South Africans.
That’s the thing about crypto — it’s not about the powerful. They can come along for the ride if they want and are smart enough to get on board, but generating massive wealth isn’t really the thing here.
No, it’s about providing people equal access and opportunity. You know, what capitalism actually promises, but arguably has not ever fully delivered.
In that light, it’s important to realize that disruption rarely comes from a place of comfort. So, when it comes to the crypto space and to the health of the world’s — the whole world’s — economy maybe we should pay less attention to western political theatre and more to what’s happening in places like South Africa.