One limitation of crypto finance is the volatility of the currency. This makes crypto-assets unsuitable for use as a unit of account or as a store of value by households or businesses. In addition, crypto-assets do not serve any worthwhile social function, such as fighting climate change. But this is a short-term concern and will be resolved as adoption of crypto-assets increases. In the meantime, however, consumers should be prepared for the volatility of cryptocurrency.
Another limitation of crypto-assets is that they pose a significant risk to financial stability. A crash in the value of crypto-assets would significantly impact the wealth of investors and the financial system. This could occur if there are incidents of price manipulation or fraud in the crypto-assets market. This could lead to a sharp fall in investor confidence and even spillover into broader financial markets. Therefore, it is important to understand the risks and benefits associated with this type of financial instrument.
While crypto finance presents a potential threat to the financial system, its size and interconnectedness make it insufficient for the purpose of triggering systemic risk. This issue is particularly significant in countries such as the United States, where free banking laws made it easier to open a bank. Regulatory arbitrage may result as a result of a lack of effective supervision, and a bank’s involvement in crypto finance could entrench an incompatible ecosystem.
Another limitation of crypto finance is that the use of crypto-assets as settlements and payments has been restricted. Even though global financial stability risks are contained for now, the use of stablecoins and other crypto assets may be more vulnerable to systemic risk in developing economies and emerging markets. Therefore, it is imperative to be cautious when using crypto-assets as payment methods. If the financial system is not prepared, a crash could arise.
Another limitation of crypto finance is the high level of lobbying by large investors. In the first nine months of 2021, crypto firms spent USD 5 million lobbying the Senate. Moreover, a Ponzi scheme can only last for so long as investors believe prices will rise, until the initial enthusiasm dies down. In contrast, crypto enthusiasts will say that regulation stifles innovation and limits the growth of the industry. But if regulation is necessary to protect consumers and businesses, crypto will remain a popular medium of exchange.
But scaling is another limitation of cryptocurrencies. Even though the number of digital coins grows exponentially, VISA processes more transactions daily than digital coins. Scalability, especially at the transaction level, is critical. Without massively scaling their infrastructure, cryptocurrencies will never compete with players like VISA or Mastercard. But this evolution is not easy. There are many solutions to overcome this problem, including decentralized networks, staking, and lightning networks.