Crypto Updates from the World Economic Forum Conference

May 26, 2022, 10:15 AM AEST - 1 month ago

Despite previous displays of disdain for the sector, cryptocurrencies have featured prominently in this year’s edition of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Crypto, Blockchain and a Meeting of the Global Elite

It’s that magical time of year when the world’s political and corporate elite congregate at the WEF’s annual meeting to “shape the future”, according its founder, Klaus Schwab.

Since the last conference in 2020 (the 2021 meeting was deferred due to Covid), crypto has gone mainstream and become an institutional asset class. Unlike years gone by, Davos 2022 has been a veritable crypto-fest with advocates making sure their voice is heard.

Five years ago, we were the only crypto company on Promenade; look at it now.

Sandra Ro, CEO, Global Blockchain Business Council

As attendees alighted from their private planes, they could hardly miss the cacophony of crypto messaging:

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Polkadot signage featured prominently nearby. Source: Yahoo

Remarkably, even NFTs featured at the conference:

Hot Button Topics

Given the recent LUNA/UST meltdown, several sessions were held in relation to the safety and regulation of stablecoins.

Representatives from both Circle (USDC) and Ripple (XRP) were present at a panel discussing remittances and digital money entitled “Remittance for Recovery: A New Era of Digital Money”.

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Sara Pantuliano, Asif Saleh, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire discuss remittances. Source: Coindesk

According to Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, the idea of cross-border remittances will in time disappear:

We don’t think about cross-border emails. We don’t think about having a cross-border web browsing session, it’s absurd to think about that. And I believe we’re on the cusp of that with money. And I think when it comes to remittances, I believe the concept of a remittance will also disappear.

Jeremy Allaire, CEO, Circle

On a WEF congress main stage, Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), downplayed the idea of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as money, adding that “a prerequisite for something that would be money is to be a stable store of value”.

Presumably, Georgieva would view stores of value along a spectrum, given the US dollar’s decline since the establishment of the Federal Reserve:

Visualizing the Purchasing Power of the Dollar Over the Last Century
Devaluation of US dollar since 1913. Source: Howmuch

Call for Consumer Education in the Wake of Terra Meltdown

The international lender also commented on the recent Terra collapse, suggesting that regulators should do more in the way of education to make consumers aware of the risks.

Earlier this year, the IMF recommended a common framework for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and crypto. Central bankers in attendance at Davos concurred, saying that good design was “crucial” to the success of retail CBDCs.

Overall, it’s evident that the industry has made dramatic strides in the recent past. Even mainstream finance is coming to the realisation that crypto, in one form or another, is here to stay.

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