Bank Canaries in the Crypto Mineshaft

Just because crypto hasn’t triggered a systemic collapse doesn’t mean that it won’t be the perpetrator of quiet banking crashes.  We would do well to remember that the 2008 calamity came shortly after the collapse of small subprime-mortgage finance companies.  These would have been proverbial dead canaries had anyone looked down the mineshaft.  And, even as the U.S. subprime crashes formed into a single, torrential crisis, bank regulators confidently foretold no systemic impact because they comfortably believed that no bank had undue exposure to high-risk mortgages.  So bank regulators still say now when it comes to crypto and let’s hope the outcome is different this time.  However, bits and pieces of bank wreckage are already to be found in FTX’s rubble and may well surface as the crypto tide continues to ebb.  No bank shipwrecks have emerged, but some of the wreckage has the look of a sizeable hull.

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