Bank of England Says Crypto Has Grown to Twice the Size of Subprime Debt in 2008

The BoE’s deputy governor of financial stability said that crypto now potentially poses a risk to the global financial system.

Oct 13, 2021 at 4:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 14, 2021 at 9:25 p.m. UTC

Nelson Wang is CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

Crypto assets have grown rapidly from just $16 billion five years ago to about $2.3 trillion today, and thus could pose a systemic risk to the global financial system, the Bank of England said on Wednesday.

  • While $2.3 trillion is small compared to the $250 trillion global financial system, it doesn’t take much to destabilize things. The sub-prime debt market was valued at around $1.2 trillion in 2008, just before the financial crisis, noted the BoE’s Jon Cunliffe, the bank’s deputy governor of financial stability in a speech.
  • ”In that case, the knock-on effects of a price collapse in a relatively small market was amplified and reverberated through an un-resilient financial system causing huge and persistent economic damage,” Cunliffe said.
  • Cunliffe said that because the crypto industry is growing rapidly and beginning to connect to the traditional financial system, with the emergence of leveraged players and in a mostly unregulated space, systemic risks, while limited now, could grow very quickly.
  • He said that regulation should be “pursued as a matter of urgency” and quoted SEC chair Gary Gensler’s recent comment that “financial innovations throughout history do not flourish outside public policy frameworks.”

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Nelson Wang is CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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Nelson Wang is CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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