The ongoing government shutdown is devastating for the crypto industry. Major functions of the government are simply not working right now. The SEC announced that it will be limiting its operations reducing its staff during the shutdown and restricting the functions to those that meet critical needs and unfortunately the Bitcoin ETF may not be a critical need to the SEC.
The US CFTC is also doing limited staffing during the federal government shutdown. There is no time limit as to how long the government shutdown is going to go on but the longer it goes on, the longer will be the delays for these key items that the people have been waiting for. So the possibility of an extended government shutdown could definitely impact the cryptocurrency industry in the United States.
Obviously, it impacts the launch of BAKKT, particularly their futures because the CFTC does not have the staff sitting around to regulate. In fact, BAKKT has announced that basically there is an indefinite delay at this point on the launch of their futures contract which is unfortunate but considering the dysfunction or the government shut down in America, it’s not really surprising.
But in the background of all this, it’s not as though that the Intercontinental Exchange has just gone to sleep and forgotten about all of the things that they want to do. They have recently acquired an established futures broker hoping to strengthen their bitcoin offering.
This government shutdown could lead to one of the SEC’s longest shutdown in recent years. So maybe the Bitcoin ETF is going to remain at the table for a long time from now because we have to realize that when these organizations come back to work there is going to be a massive backlog which will depend upon how long the government shutdown goes on. The SEC and the CFTC both have issued orders freezing all pending administrative proceedings until further notice and this will not be changed until we see the federal government gets back to work.
The fascinating thing here is that technically if the SEC fails to approve or disapprove the Bitcoin ETF by the deadline the ETF, in theory, shall be automatically approved but the reality is that probably won’t happen. The SEC will probably just put out a one page denial or a one page request for withdrawal or a one page delay notice or something like that so even though they are running with a low staff, they are probably just going to keep kicking the can down the road on all these things instead of just letting it happen but there is still a technical possibility of the Bitcoin ETF getting directly approved.
Obviously, the Bitcoin ETF and the Bitcoin futures contracts by BAKKT gets a lot of attention but that’s not all that’s going on. There are about sixty different countries which have applied for Reg A+. Reg A+ is basically a mini IPO. SO this permits the eligible issues to offer securities to the general public and not just to accredited investors and some of these will definitely be cryptocurrency projects. But like everyone else, even these companies need to wait until the government shutdown is over.
Looking at Bitcoin, we can see that it is not super influenced by events like these. Although the Bitcoin ETF, Bitcoin Futures, BAKKT and all of these things get a lot of people excited but of course remember that we don’t need Wall Street. The SEC and CFTC are regulating for projects, especially for Wall Street.
The IRS has had to send home 56% of its staff. This is an agency which is already dramatically underfunded and then to send home even more of their staff during tax season means that not a lot of audits are going to be happening and they are already struggling to adapt the new tax policies which were put in place recently.
While the Federal Government cannot regulate during the government shutdown, the State Governments are pushing ahead with very innovative legislation and playing with this technology and trying new things. For example, Vermont is putting insurance on the blockchain, Nevada has issued 1000 marriage certificates on the Ethereum blockchain, Wyoming is bringing land records to the blockchain, Bitpay is helping Ohio accept bitcoin for taxes, two Colorado senators have filled a bill to introduce a digital token act which would allow cryptocurrencies to bypass securities laws which if passed could turn Colorado to a leading legislation within the United States in terms of cryptocurrency regulations and lastly, New York has become the first state to create a cryptocurrency task force which will be studying the regulation use and definition of digital currency.
Even though the Federal Government is having a dysfunction due to the government shutdown, there is still innovation happening. What are your thoughts on the government shutdown? Tell us in the comments section below.
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