The Death of Compromise, and a Way Forward for Crypto

Lessons for TradFi and DeFi from some toppled LEGO.

AccessTimeIconOct 18, 2023 at 3:45 p.m. UTC

Two of my children were playing the other day, building a bridge with LEGO. Happy and feeling accomplished, they were just about to complete their creation when my other child ran over and kicked it down. Pleased with the destruction, he ran away, leaving both of his siblings crying.

Isn’t this the story of life? Some people build bridges. Others destroy them. And even more are just an audience, like me, who observed the situation while trying to get other things done – interfering only at the end with discipline to the destructor and aid to the builders.

This scenario has been haunting me. Engaging in linear thinking and failing to engage in compromise rarely conjures collective goals.

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Within the digital asset landscape, the biggest call for action and compromise today is regulation.

In March 2022, Jerome Powell, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine emphasized the need for Congress to take “action on digital finance, including cryptocurrencies.” Powell referred to the possibility that terrorists or other malicious actors would use crypto as a reason why additional regulation was needed.

In October 2022, a federal panel responsible for monitoring financial system risks sounded a warning about crypto markets, saying that the widespread adoption of digital assets poses risks if the market continued to grow without better oversight and enforcement.

Most recently, Israeli authorities seized around 190 Binance accounts with alleged ties to terrorist groups. And there have been multiple reports of how Hamas militants behind the attack on Israel raised millions of dollars worth of crypto – bolstering the case for regulation.

One can’t help but wonder why we are at this critical point where, arguably, little has been accomplished on crypto regulation? Linear thinking with a single outcome in mind has left us unable to compromise.

But I haven't lost hope. Over the past few months, as part of a marketing study, I interviewed early adopters of digital assets from traditional finance (TradFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi). The No. 1 theme that kept emerging in these conversations? Bridges.

Yes, the desire to build bridges. While what’s on each side of the bridge may vary, the concept of unifying remains. Addressing policy and regulatory framework, tensions between TradFi and DeFi, streamlining vernacular and data, and building trust through unbiased and fair viewpoints were common themes, with one solution: bridges. And the path forward the early adopters acknowledged as the solution to these percolating problems? Collective thinking, coming together as a community and finding compromise.

So, how do we build bridges? First, think nonlinearly; be flexible and adaptable. Second, be open-minded. Listen to those with opposing viewpoints. Solve problems with compromise in mind. Third, be a voice …

The next time my two children are building bridges and my third goes for the destruction kick, I can act. In this scenario, and why I’m writing this article, is to remind people that the majority of us want bridges. It's time to start building.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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