Silvergate Bank 'Had to Be Perfect' but Now Pays a Heavy Price: Strategist

Crypto adoption by TradFi companies “got just that much harder in the last 24 hours,” said Jim Bianco, president of Bianco Research LLC.

AccessTimeIconMar 9, 2023 at 10:15 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:10 a.m. UTC
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Crypto-friendly bank Silvergate had a substantial footprint in crypto, and that meant it was under more pressure than traditional banking firms, said Jim Bianco, president and macro strategist at research firm Bianco Research LLC.

“Silvergate had to be perfect because of the industry they were in,” Bianco told CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” on Thursday. “And they weren’t, and they’ve paid a heavy price for it.”

Before Silvergate’s announcement, Bianco said, its holding company’s stock (SI), which had fallen 98% since its peak in November 2021, was likely to fall even further.

“History says that stocks that lose this much often lose that final 2%,” he tweeted Wednesday when the Silvergate news broke.

By Wednesday afternoon, the La Jolla, California-based Silvergate Capital Corp. said that it would be “voluntarily liquidating” the bank's assets, in part due to “recent industry and regulatory developments.”

Those recent industry developments can be attributed to the implosion of crypto exchange FTX and its corporate sibling Alameda Research, he said.

But the bigger problem for the crypto industry lies on the horizon, according to Bianco. Because traditional banking firms operate under a fiduciary rule, “they have to act according to the fiduciary rule, responsibly.”

Fiduciaries have a primary duty of managing and caring for the property for others, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. website, which adds, "The Board of Directors and senior management must be able to identify, measure, monitor and control the risks inherent in fiduciary activities, and respond appropriately to changing business conditions."

Now, thanks to the failure of Silvergate, coupled with the downfall of other crypto players, traditional finance (TradFi) companies could be taking on “a career risk,” should they choose to invest their money in crypto.

“This is the taint that crypto is going to have to face,” Bianco said. The crypto industry is likely to have a difficult time finding traditional banks that will work with it, and that will further stall TradFi's involvement in crypto. “Adoption from the TradFi space got just that much harder in the last 24 hours,” Bianco said.

But he doesn't think crypto isn’t down for the count. “I still think crypto is going to win the day at the end of all of this,” Bianco said.


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Fran Velasquez

Fran is CoinDesk's TV writer and reporter.

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