Musings from the Asia Financial Markets Forum (AFMF):
1 Nov 21
Held in Singapore last week, the AFMF featured Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, major bank CEOs, top hedge fund managers and us! (representing the crypto community)
These are our 4 key thoughts from the event:
1. Crypto is shaping up to be the next multi-decade investment trend
Crypto made a decisive mark on what has historically been a 100% mainstream finance forum. Everyone from governments, to financial institutions and major investors have pivoted towards a digital asset focus.
However, an event survey showed that only a third had direct crypto exposure and a handful had bought into the recently launched Bitcoin ETF.
Crypto is still underowned and there is still a large knowledge gap. With regards to topics such as Defi and NFTs the gap is even wider and will take some time to close.
However, it is clear that crypto will become an increasingly important topic in tradfi circles. A bullish signal to us.
2. Stablecoins and CBDCs
Singapore Senior Minister Tharman’s perspective on regulated stablecoins was that they effectively function as CBDCs and there is therefore little point in replicating something that already works.
The proliferation of stablecoins is inevitable. In the future, payments, settlements and FX trading will be done in stablecoins of different currencies.
3. Is bullish China a no-brainer?
Bullish China versus the US seemed to almost be a consensus view.
We think that this might be underestimating the exponential growth of Tech, a sector where innovation is still largely driven by the US.
There is also still risk of increasingly draconian policies following the 20th party congress once President Xi is able to secure an unprecedented third term in office.
Crypto-wise, the Chinese government’s hostility has resulted in an exodus of crypto players from China into Singapore, US and the Middle East. This has clearly stifled the crypto economy in China.
We are not quite on board with the consensus view here.
4. Macro push factors
Two macro factors are pushing more investors towards crypto.
Firstly, the lack of volatility especially in FX. With every government now able to fund themselves with QE, there is less need for tapping cross-border markets which in turn leads to an unusually subdued FX trading environment.
This makes for poor trading markets which has naturally pushed investors towards commodities and crypto.
As a highly speculative and leveraged market, investors will continue to enjoy high volatility in crypto assets.
Secondly, there is consensus that inflation is here to stay. This is driving investors to look for the best inflation hedge.
As an asset class that is exponentially gaining traction and with largely limited supply (in many coins and tokens) crypto is quickly becoming a clear winner.