Former SEC Chair Arthur Levitt: Cryptocurrency Is Here To Stay

On September 14, 2017, the Washington Post published some thoughts on cryptocurrency from Arthur Levitt, the longest-serving chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. In contrast with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, Levitt believes that cryptocurrency is “here to stay.”

“It’s quite speculative,” said Levitt, who is unsure whether he would invest in bitcoin itself. The ex-chairman was well-known for his focus on investor protection. “[Cryptocurrency] fluctuates for reasons that are hard to understand.” Nonetheless, he suggested, “I would consider investing in companies that use bitcoin, or trade in bitcoin.”

Investing in the institutional infrastructure certainly seems like a wise strategy. Rather than worry about the day to day vagaries of price, one might want to bet on the continued existence of cryptocurrencies. Although Chinese exchanges are under fire at the moment, there are plenty of countries where legal cryptocurrency businesses are thriving (e.g., the United States, The Philippines, South Korea).

Looking to the future, Levitt said, “I don’t know whether it will be bitcoin or Ethereum, to name just two. But it’s here to stay because of the disparity between countries where a monetary system is robust and countries where there is virtually no monetary system. This comes up as an alternative currency.”

Over the last decade, millions of people around the world have seemingly lost faith in their governments. So, In light of geopolitical and economic shifts, it’s almost unsurprising that private cryptocurrencies, which function without government direction, arose as an alternative. ETHNews previously featured the potential for cryptocurrency in unstable economic and political situations.

When citizens lose faith in the justice system, vigilantism may take root. In a sense, non-fiat cryptocurrency represents a parallel of financial vigilantism. Levitt’s statements certainly align with this viewpoint, which emphasizes individual economic empowerment.

In a previous interview with the Post, Levitt said of his SEC tenure, “My overwhelming focus was on the importance of the individual investor over corporations, over market structure, over everything else.” Private cryptocurrencies clearly grant power to people rather than governments. Only time will tell whether this economic experiment is sustainable in the long-run.