On June 26, Foley announced it had surveyed industry insiders for insight on attitudes toward the use, risk, and regulation of cryptocurrencies and found that, despite recent market losses and regulatory uncertainty, 58 percent of respondents were open to investing in or developing cryptocurrency businesses.
To quote one executive, "the juice is worth the squeeze."
Eighty-four percent of respondents feel that ICOs should be regulated by the federal government, individual states, or both, while 68 percent want regulation for the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies.
Kathryn Trkla, a partner and member of Foley's Blockchain Task Force, attributed the invitation for federal regulation to a recognition that exchanges are not self-contained and that transfers to and from fiat currencies will "likely involve use of existing, regulated financial market infrastructure."
A "lack of legal certainty" emerged as a barrier throughout the survey. Seventy-two percent of respondents feel that "the cryptocurrency industry does not have a well-grounded understanding of existing federal and state regulation of financial markets or financial services."
"Uncertainty about regulatory standards and duties is an obstacle to salutary product development in this field," said another member of Foley's Blockchain Task Force, firm partner Patrick Daugherty.
When asked about individual coins, 43 percent of those surveyed thought that bitcoin will be more likely to gain greater acceptance as a medium of payment. But as an investment opportunity, Ethereum was favored over bitcoin by a margin of 38 to 35 percent.
"Bitcoin and Ethereum are the 'safest' crypto assets to build a business around because they are the only crypto assets that the SEC and the CFTC agree upon," said Daugherty, though he added that this did not make either of them a safe investment per se.
A vast majority of respondents believe that at some point, bitcoin's market capitalization will be exceeded by another cryptocurrency.
Other less-surprising conclusions from the survey pointed to hackers and security breaches as the most immediate threats to the industry, followed by manipulative trading and fraudulent offerings. The greatest risk for managing cryptocurrency assets was that of private key management and storage.
The pool of survey respondents consisted mostly of executives and investors rather than enthusiasts, so the findings are probably not a reflection of general public sentiment toward cryptocurrencies. Nonetheless, they provide a valuable snapshot into the minds of several key demographics.