Writing on LinkedIn this Tuesday, Adena Friedman, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Nasdaq, said that cryptocurrencies could be a “global currency of the future.”
As the lead figure at a major stock exchange operator, Friedman will be attending the conference, held in the Swiss city of Davos, to determine “how to make the world more equitable, more transparent, and more stable.”
A part of the discussion will be focused on digital assets. According to the Nasdaq CEO, cryptocurrencies have finished the first phase of the “classic invention lifecycle” with early adopters getting things started, a rush of excitement and a final, crushing climax that saw the price of most cryptocurrencies crashing at the end of last year.
Since that crash, many people have been trying to figure out where the cryptocurrency market goes from here. The ‘crypto enthusiasts’ have been repeating the same slogans and making bullish noises about bitcoin hitting the $50,000 mark by the end of 2020.
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To be libertarian or to be mainstream?
But for Friedman, the industry as a whole can go one of two ways – charge onward and upward or face a slow descent into obscurity.
“What comes next is one of two outcomes,” wrote the Nasdaq CEO. “The innovation finds practical utility followed by years of steady and sustainable commercial progress and integration into the economic fabric (e.g., the Internet). Or the invention fails to achieve broad adoption and its commercial applications as medium of exchange are limited (e.g., the Segway).”
Concluding her comments on cryptocurrency, Friedman noted that the best way to ensure that cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain technology that underpins them, do not go the way of the Segway is to have a mix of regulatory clarity and stable governance.
Will that happen? It would seem, as Friedman pointed out in her post, to go against the libertarian values that helped garner so much support for digital assets from their early days until now.
But if the technology is to survive, it may, as Friedman pointed out, have to give up on some of those values. That leaves ‘crypto enthusiasts’ with something of a conundrum – give up on your principles and let the technology you love go mainstream or hold on to those values and see that technology remain the plaything of a small subset of society.