The current US government shutdown is taking its toll on everything – including cryptocurrencies and their adoption.
Donald Trump’s government shutdown has now begun its 24th day after breaking the record for the longest shutdown in US history three days ago. The president’s deadlock with congress over funding allocation for his pet border wall project with Mexico shows no signs of abating any time soon either, in a situation which is threatening the day to day financial security of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The reality of the shutdown is that certain government institutions aren’t functioning; their employees can’t go to work and no one is getting paid. Whilst the work is not getting done, backlogs in all sorts of areas are emerging. Wallstreet is one are where this is happening.
SEC and CFTC on Hold
Institutions affected by the shutdown include the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which is having knock-on effects on Wallstreet.
The SEC and CFTC are necessary for providing approval for a number of different products and services including the bitcoin ETF which are due to enter the cryptocurrency space in 2019. One of the most notable among these is the launch of Bakkt, the bitcoin futures trading platform being developed by Intercontinental Exchange, parent company to the NYSE. Bakkt needed to secure certain approvals for its product by December 22nd, however the shutdown put any approvals on hold until further notice.
Bakkt Continues Regardless
Bakkt is not sitting on its hands in the meantime. Whilst Donald Trump has speculated the shutdown could go on for months, or potentially even years, the company has been working hard to shore up its position for when it eventually does launch.
In a recent blog post, Kelly Loeffler, the firm’s CEO, delivered an optimistic message outlining the company’s successes in December. This included successfully raising $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors as well as detailing close work with the CFTC.
“We made great progress in December,” Loeffler writes, “and we’ll continue to onboard customers as we await the ‘green light.’”
The firm has also acquired elements of the Rosenthal Collins Group, an independent futures commission merchant which will help shore up its regulatory compliance.
Some Branches Still Working
Lawmakers in the House and the Senate are still at work amid the shutdown and this is where crypto interest groups have been putting their energy over the last few weeks. Kristin Smith, who is director of external affairs for the Blockchain Association explained:
“We’ve been making real progress engaging with lawmakers and regulators on the merits of the token economy in the last several months, but the shutdown puts the handbrake on some of those conversations,”
Despite firms and individuals doing what they can under the current conditions, the bottom line is the shutdown is not good for anyone. However, with neither side looking like they will budge on the issue, there is no telling when it will be over.
Image Source: “Flickr”
Alex has been putting words on paper since he was old enough to hold a pen; when he bought his first bitcoin in January 2017, those words discovered their place within crypto as well. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and his special expertise lies in European cryptocurrency regulation.