While cryptocurrencies have been a talking point at previous World Economic Forum conferences, they have come to the fore in Davos this year.
Following a breakout year which saw Bitcoin rise to an almighty high of $20,000, alongside the massive growth of other altcoins, it’s hardly surprising that one of the major talking points at WEF would be the future of cryptocurrency.
With financial industry leaders coming together at the most important annual event on the economic calendar, media outlets took their chance to ask the top minds for their two cents worth on the current and future prospects of virtual currencies.
Cointelegraph is currently attending the summit in Davos and has reported continual resistant perceptions towards cryptocurrencies.
These views stem from a lack of a regulatory framework for virtual currencies which has made some of the world’s prominent banking and financial institutions hesitant about investing and supporting cryptocurrencies.
UBS Chairman Axel Weber said as much in an interview with Bloomberg, saying his firm would not recommend cryptocurrency adoption or investment to its clients until there is clarity on future regulatory action.
As per usual, the vibrant and feisty cryptocurrency community has been watching developments at Davos keenly, and there has been plenty of backlash in response to any FUD or untoward comments about cryptocurrencies.
Twitter hits out at Davos FUD
Full Tilt Capital Partner Anthony Pompliano was scathing in his analysis of the prevailing sentiment floating around in Davos towards Bitcoin.
The former Facebook product and growth manager suggested that statements made by economist Joseph Stiglitz that Bitcoin was still used for shady purposes actually has the opposite effect of driving people away from cryptocurrency adoption.
Joseph Stiglitz, well-known economist, is bragging to the Davos crowd that Bitcoin is used for "secret use cases" & that fiat currency is superior. My theory is that this type of fear-mongering actually drives more adoption of Bitcoin & cryptocurrencies.https://t.co/zhy5hB486Y— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) January 24, 2018
Max Keiser, host of the Keiser Report on RT, also touched on the wave of negativity around Bitcoin in Davos, but said it was too late for big financial industry players to try to stop what he described as a ‘revolution.’
Renowned American investor Bill Gross suggested that the rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency has signaled a move away from centralized institutions governing and controlling money. People seem to be putting their trust in technology over government-run establishments.
Bitcoin’s rise may reflect, for better or worse, a monumental transfer of social trust: away from human institutions backed by government and to systems reliant on well-tested computer code.. #WEF18 https://t.co/6hWKq6Lo6U #Davos pic.twitter.com/Ltuh6owdzm— Bill Gross (@Bill_Gross) January 23, 2018
Twitter users CryptoWilson highlighted more negative sentiment towards cryptocurrency, sharing a video of French President Emmanuel Macron speaking in favor of regulatory crackdowns by the International Monetary Fund on cryptocurrency.
Macron 'triggered by Bitcoin' at Davos: "I am in favor of the IMF having full competence over the whole areas that escape regulation: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, shadow banking [...] which can trigger crises." https://t.co/XZ1Vyj0tB4— Wilson Trodler (@cryptowilson) January 25, 2018
Can’t be ignored
Setting perceptions of sentiment aside, the truth of the matter is that the financial world can no longer turn a blind eye on cryptocurrencies. They are very much a central point of this year’s WEF and understandably so.
As the 68th US Secretary of State John Kerry told Cointelegraph earlier this week at the summit, the sheer value of capital that has been poured into the overall cryptocurrency market has made it impossible to ignore.
Coinmarketcap currently has the current total market capitalization at $559 bln- a steady number after a month of wild market volatility.