Here’s a thinker for you…
A doctor makes money only when we’re sick…
A cop needs crime to keep his job…
A firefighter needs houses to go up in smoke…
And a soldier, of course, needs war…
Even our mechanic is in on it. He smiles when he hears that soft metallic rattle from deep within our engine.
Who, then, is cheering for our best interests? Who wants us to succeed… to have the fancy car… the big-screen TV… and the vacation house we hardly ever visit?
A burglar, of course.
The better off we are, the better off he is.
Before you go thinking this is some trope about the government and taxation, think again. A rich population would stuff a government’s tax coffers… but it’d quickly kick that government to the curb. A well-off society doesn’t need big social programs or easy-money handouts.
No. This is about a different story… one that’s making big headlines.
We like to muse about the free market and what it looks like in a pure form. But it’s only as good as the incentives we place behind it. Once we pervert the incentives, things go south.
Crypto is a fine example.
“It’s the biggest scam… ever,” we saw one angry commenter write recently.
It’s not hard to see where the angst comes from. The failure of FTX shows just how perverted the whole mess has become. With so much bullishness in the sector and so few folks willing to ask the right questions, it was easy for things to get out of hand.
Sam Bankman-Fried (infamously known simply as SBF), the founder of FTX, had every incentive to help his users bid up prices and keep hoards of money flowing in. The richer his customers got, the more he could leverage their savings.
Once the scheme reached its pinnacle, FTX melted down on itself.
It was wholly predictable. The incentives were all wrong. And the market fixed the mistake in the painful way it’s oh so known for.
It’s a grand lesson for investors. It’s critical that we always understand the other guy’s incentives.
Does your doc get rich when you get cancer? Does your mechanic make his boat payment when your transmission slips?
Does somebody else get rich when you deposit your cash… or buy a certain token?
The shortsighted will blame the crypto sector as a whole. It’s a big scam, they say.
There are plenty of good cryptos out there. But if they don’t have fundamentals, they’re mere speculation. And speculation dries up with the wiggle of the Fed’s fingers. Look around.
To the serious (and rational) investor, what happened with FTX is good news. It’s one more loser out of the way. It’s one more hurdle crossed on our way to adopting game-changing technology.
Like so many in the crypto space, we’ve been pleading for some regulation from the folks in charge. In a world where HOAs regulate the color of our shutters and our barber needs a license to cut our hair… it’s right for consumers to believe these exchanges and projects are safer than they are.
If everything else is regulated and predetermined to be legitimate by the beasts in charge… it’s right for the grandma in Boise or the lineman in Buffalo to assume that cryptos are safe and that they are being guarded by a fierce watchdog.
But they aren’t.
Instead of standing around with their mouths agape at what’s happening… the folks we pay to tend to such things must step in.
A Big Opportunity
With FTX’s disastrous failure, the calls are growing.
The head of the SEC – Gary Gensler – has stepped up his rhetoric, calling the crypto industry “significantly noncompliant.”
It’s bad news for the shadowy areas of the market. The crooks and cheats will get pushed aside. The speculation will go bust.
But for the game-changing technology… the decentralizing forces… and the incredibly efficient transfer of capital… oh my, it’s wonderful news.
The incentives are falling back in line.
We’ve been tracking it all quite closely. Manward has even launched a research service to find the winners that will come from it all.
Few folks know it, but there are already dozens of blockchain-based assets that have been approved by Gensler and his troops. In fact, the SEC recently set up two brand-new offices just to goose this nascent market along.
The “traditional” crypto market may be faltering. That’s what happens when the incentives get twisted.
But this regulated space is doing quite well.
That’s what happens when the incentives are right.