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Crypto's rapid move into banking elicits alarm in Washington
By Eric Lipton and Ephrat Livni
The New York Times
Sunday, September 5, 2021
BlockFi, a fast-growing financial start-up whose headquarters in Jersey City are across the Hudson River from Wall Street, aspires to be the JPMorgan Chase of cryptocurrency.
It offers credit cards, loans, and interest-generating accounts. But rather than dealing primarily in dollars, BlockFi operates in the rapidly expanding world of digital currencies, one of a new generation of institutions effectively creating an alternative banking system on the frontiers of technology.
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"We are just at the beginning of this story," said Flori Marquez, 30, a founder of BlockFi, which was created in 2017 and claims to have more than $10 billion in assets, 850 employees, and more than 450,000 retail clients who can obtain loans in minutes without credit checks.
But to state and federal regulators and some members of Congress, the entry of crypto into banking is cause for alarm. The technology is disrupting the world of financial services so quickly and unpredictably that regulators are far behind, potentially leaving consumers and financial markets vulnerable.
In recent months, top officials from the Federal Reserve and other banking regulators have urgently begun what they are calling a "crypto sprint" to try to catch up with the rapid changes and figure out how to curb the potential dangers from an emerging industry whose short history has been marked as much by high-stakes speculation as by technological advances. ...
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