Not long after several Wall Street banks collapsed in 2008, a nine-page document circulated on an obscure mailing list, proposing a new kind of financial system that wouldn't rely on any "trusted third party."
The paper was the basis for what became the cryptocurrency industry. Using sweeping, idealistic language, its adherents vowed to conduct business in a transparent and egalitarian way, rejecting the high-risk practices of a small number of powerful financial firms that caused the Great Recession.
But last month, the actions of a single crypto firm — the $32 billion exchange FTX — plunged the emerging industry into its own version of a 2008-style crisis. Once considered a safe marketplace for people to trade virtual currencies, FTX filed for bankruptcy after the crypto equivalent of a bank run, forcing industry executives, investors and enthusiasts to grapple with how a technology meant to correct the shortcomings of traditional finance ended up replicating them.
From The New York Times
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