Crypto Long & Short: Crypto Markets Are Volatile Because They’re Free

For crypto investors who have been in the market a while, volatility is not a bug – it’s a feature.

There are few things more emotional, contentious and misunderstood than the concept of freedom. It means different things to different people and spans a wide ideological spectrum from fundamental human right to hard-won privilege, with some darker tones of “threat” adding nuance to the discourse.Bitcoin, fiercely embraced by libertarians, has been hailed as the key to financial freedom. Decentralized innovation on borderless computing platforms has given rise to new paradigms of thought and creativity, and the global collaboration has both lowered financial boundaries and supported individual opportunity.You’re reading Crypto Long & Short, a newsletter that looks closely at the forces driving cryptocurrency markets. Authored by CoinDesk’s head of research, Noelle Acheson, it goes out every Sunday and offers a recap of the week – with insights and analysis – from a professional investor’s point of view. You can subscribe here.We all know that, in order to live peacefully with each other, some freedoms need to be curtailed. The progress of civilization has revolved around finding the balance between too little and too much, with the pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other and knocking things over in the process.Nowhere is this more public than in the evolution of capital markets. The “free market” that we hold up as the ideal of capitalism is anything but. Excesses that damage vested interests are stamped out with more rules and regulations, and protection increasingly trumps opportunity.This is not necessarily a bad thing. Retail investors should be protected from scams and fraud – the human cost of not doing so would be more than most of us could bear. And financial market participants need to adhere to disclosure and reserve requirements to avoid potentially catastrophic systemic risk.Volatility as a badgeRules have also evolved to dampen volatility, because of the damage wild swings can do to portfolios and livelihoods. You may remember during the GameStop fluctuations that trading on the stock was frequently suspended because of strong market moves. The New York Stock Exchange, to pick one example, has market-wide circuit breaker procedures in place to either halt certain stocks temporarily or to close the entire market if established thresholds are crossed. Investors are powerless to do anything about this.

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