Communication is extremely important, and sometimes it’s a life and death necessity. But sometimes you can’t communicate with the people around you. Take driving for instance. With everyone encased in glass and metal, it may seem like the only possible communication is to honk a horn or wave a finger, but there is actually another language drivers speak without realizing it. That language is traffic laws. When you follow the law, you communicate to other drivers what you intend to do. This can take the form of using a turn signal before you change lanes or stopping when the traffic light turns red. Not following the law means that communications breaks down, and that’s when accidents occur.
For example, let’s say you’re about to go straight through a four way stop and I’m across from you turning left. You reach the intersection first, and the law states that you have the right-of-way. You’re having a good day, so you decide to be nice and let me go before you. Because you’re no longer following the law, communication breaks down. I have no idea what you’re going to do, or even if you’re paying attention. I’m hesitant to move because I don’t know if you’ll suddenly start forward and crash into me. Best-case scenario, I drive through the intersection frustrated. Worst-case scenario, I die.
Fortunately, we have people who drive around, observe traffic, and enforce the law. Better enforcement translates to better communication, which then leads to fewer accidents. People who drive recklessly stand out and are therefore both easier for drivers to avoid and for the police to find and censure. Traffic laws keep us safer and happier.
Navigating the cryptocurrency space can be a lot like driving a car. We’re all trying to get somewhere, but none of us can really talk because we’re sitting behind a keyboard. Communication breaks down or doesn’t happen to begin with. Best-case scenario, honest consumers lose money because they don’t understand what everyone’s doing. Worst-case scenario, bad actors take advantage of the vague regulations to blend in and take advantage of honest people. In either case, honest innovators tend to relocate to countries where the laws are clearest.
Motorized vehicles helped to make physical relocation of goods and people more efficient. Similarly, cryptocurrencies help make monetary relocation more efficient. When the car was invented, it was difficult to drive because the hardware was clunky, the roads were all intended for horse traffic, and there were no laws governing how and where cars could go. Aside from innovations and developments in user experience and infrastructure, the crypto space in the US lacks a clear set of laws. Precise regulations would help consumers more efficiently navigate the space with fewer accidents. Fair regulations would help entrepreneurs innovate on the infrastructure. Overall, good regulations would help everyone better identify the bad actors and deal with them properly.
The crypto space needs regulations. Clear regulations which benefit consumers and innovators while deterring bad actors. To make regulations that fit these criteria, regulators need to know the crypto space. We need regulators to get behind the wheel, drive the pothole riddled roads, and deal with the frustration of having someone cut them off. They need to understand the benefits and necessities of driving. We need regulators who love to drive just as much as we do.
What we have now are regulators sitting in a toll booth surrounded by piles of cash from charging all the lambos who pass. They feel like what they’ve done so far works because for them it has, but it won’t stay that way. As everyone works to develop the infrastructure and user experience, the lambos are going to get faster and faster. Worst-case scenario? The bad actor lambo will steal all their cash, and they ain’t catching that lambo on foot.
To avoid the worst-case scenarios, each of us in the crypto community should do what we can to help educate and influence our government leaders toward creating fair and precise regulations that benefit all of us. Otherwise, our communication will break down, and we’ll all be held up at the four-way stop flipping each other off.