First came the multibillion-dollar collapse of Terra/Luna in May, plunging the crypto market into a deeper winter. Then last week, FTX.com, one of the largest centralized exchanges in the world, declared bankruptcy, causing crypto prices to crash to two-year lows.
While FTX sparked widespread panic in the industry and elevated calls for stricter regulation, Jehan Chu, cofounder and managing partner of Kinetic, a Hong Kong-based blockchain investment and trading firm, told Forkast that while the situation was “really sad,” the fundamentals of the industry remain intact.
“That’s all the financial side of crypto and it says nothing or barely anything about the technology side, about the innovation side,” Chu told Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau at Forkast’s Crypto Rising livestreamed Tuesday event, How Top VCs are Investing Out of Crypto Winter.
“[But] what’s happening in the background is there’s still incredible technological development,” he said, pointing to developments — like layer 2 scaling solutions, and continuing growth of digital assets in terms of content creation — as examples of the technology continuing to add value to the sector. “They’re still creating really incredible technology and that can’t be ignored.”
Speaking to Forkast before FTX declared bankruptcy on Friday, Kevin O’Leary, chairman of venture capital firm O’Leary Ventures and star of TV’s Shark Tank, told Forkast in comments shared in Tuesday’s livestream that the moment presents a great investment opportunity to invest in the market.
“I’m tiptoeing through the tulips at extraordinary valuations,” he said. “I think some of the greatest investments I’m going to make in this space are going to happen in the next 60 days. Nothing brings forward opportunity [like] chaos, and we have mass chaos right now.”
Gin Chao, founder of No Limit Holdings, another guest, told Forkast he was shocked by the speed at which FTX collapsed and fell apart, but he urged people to take a broader view of the situation.
“When banks collapse, you don’t lose faith in the U.S. dollar or the underlying asset,” he said. “I would just also remind everybody that what happened with FTX is, by the way, a daily and perhaps even an industry standard occurrence in traditional finance.”
Cries for stricter regulation have echoed throughout the industry in the days since the fallout, and O’Leary told Forkast that one consequence of this will be that the period of regulatory window shopping — where firms could pick and choose between which jurisdiction was most favorable to them — was over, as most activity will now default to the U.S.
Chu pushed back on this assessment, however, saying the technology still allowed jurisdictional preference for individual companies to be up for grabs.
“We’re still going to be playing regulatory hopscotch, regulatory kind of arbitrage for a few more years, because I think that the volume of trade can move so quickly from one venue to another,” he said, telling Forkast that it’s relatively easy to pick up an entity established in one country and move it to another with friendlier jurisdictions.
He did add, however, that the number of jurisdictions willing to take this kind of regulatory risk is likely to have shrunk in the fallout of FTX’s collapse.
While he agreed with the sentiment, Chao added he believes that governments are going to have to become stakeholders in the ecosystem if they want to contribute to governance effectively.
“If a governmental regulatory body wants to be serious, be a stakeholder, be a node validator, participate in this technology and network,” he said. “Otherwise, I think it should be largely coming from the voice of users, industry players, and infrastructure providers to provide that guidance. And the enforcement can come from other parts of the ecosystem.”