Jerome Powell was re-appointed by President Trump as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. The position is one that should be familiar to crypto enthusiasts – after all, his decisions could either help or hurt Bitcoin’s chances at achieving mainstream adoption in America.
Powell has worked for the Fed since 2012 and currently chairs both its Financial Stability and its Payments Systems Committees. He is also a member of the Federal Open Market Committee, which determines short-term interest rates for the US economy and when to implement monetary policy in regards to inflation, national economic growth, and employment.
Bitcoin and the Federal Reserve
I sat down with five crypto industry experts to get their thoughts on what Powell’s re-appointment means for Bitcoin in the US.
“I believe his re-appointment – while not a surprise – is another notch in the belt of Wall Street and how it has come to dominate every aspect of the financial system,” said Stephen McKeon, Associate Professor of Finance at The University of Oregon and author of “Cryptocurrency: A Primer on Market Participants, Regulations, and Money Laundering Risks.”
Michael Sonnenshein, Managing Director of Grayscale Investments’ Digital Currency Group agreed with McKeon’s assessment that Wall Street will continue to have power over US monetary policy. “The influence that the Federal Reserve exerts over other central banks was aligned with Bitcoin’s market capfor much of 2017,” Sonnenshein said. “However, the dollar alone comprises 50% of Bitcoin’s market cap today.”
The number for bitcoin for a long time was a reflection of the monetary policy drivers in China and Japan, but I think it’s shifted more to dollars since September,” he continued.
“I don’t think it will be any different next year than the last ten years, which I believe were good for bitcoin. It will continue to receive more and more attention,” he said. “I don’t think anything changes dramatically, but only gets better over time,” Sonnenshein added.
Kosala Hemachandra is the founder and CEO of Pramana, a blockchain advisory firm in Silicon Valley. “I don’t think anything changes dramatically, but only gets better over time,” Hemachandra said. He added that the conversation about regulation was also already happening – largely in regard to how US tax laws are being applied to crypto assets.
“I would not expect any significant change in the way Fed approaches crypto regulation during his tenure or at all. I think he will continue to play a role as a level-headed policymaker who will consider both parties and emerge with a middle ground solution,” Hemachandra said.