With or without Washington’s help, the crypto train chugs on

Even as the industry dreads potential new regulation in the U.S., signs of growth abound

Peter A. McKay
3 min readAug 15, 2021
Photo by Executium via Unsplash

Re-sharing below the latest edition of #Web3 Weekly, my regular newsletter about decentralization. This installment covers Aug. 8–14, 2021. If you’d like to get #Web3 Weekly in your inbox every Sunday, please subscribe here.

Cryptopians hailed another week of big market gains, but they also freaked out over the U.S. Senate’s passage of an infrastructure bill that included new regulations on crypto brokers. There are yet some reasons for hope, though.

Most important, the bill may be amended in the House of Representatives before it’s signed into law.

There’s also the improbably zen-like view offered by widely followed investor Raoul Pal after the senate vote. His take: Crypto adoption among users is still moving forward at a rapid pace, and some amount of new regulation is inevitable. So, hey, let’s just deal with it as a community and seek the best deal possible.

With a hat tip to Pal’s focus on the big picture, here are five recent datapoints that have caught my own attention lately. These highlight how the crypto economy and the conventional one alike are evolving right now, sometimes in unexpected ways:

  • The S&P 500 has been underperforming cryptocurrencies and… used cars? Over the last 12 months, the benchmark stock index has gained 33%, which is certainly more than respectable in historic terms on Wall Street. That said, ether is up 649% over the same timeframe, bitcoin is up 296%, and the average price of a used car in the U.S. has jumped more than 40%, according to official inflation data. Chalk up the jump in car prices to supply-chain issues, as has been the case with many other goods during the pandemic. The situation highlights some underlying issues that still beset the global economy despite recent improvements in broad measures like gross domestic product in the U.S. For bitcoiner/ex-Facebooker/podcaster Anthony Pompliano, the used-car data were also fodder for some wicked fun on Twitter last week.
  • More money has flowed into stablecoins than municipal bonds so far in 2021. The top three tokens pegged to the U.S. dollar now have more than $100 billion in assets collectively, underscoring their growing use as an alternative to traditional banking. That total is almost three times the cash reserves sitting at PayPal. The stablecoin assets have also accumulated at lightning pace in 2021, up $75 billion. That’s slightly more than the $73 billion investors have put into government debt issued by U.S. cities and states this year, according to Blockworks.
  • Ether trading surpassed bitcoin turnover on Coinbase in the second quarter, according to the exchange’s latest earnings report. Coinbase also said 10 of the top 100 hedge funds in the world now use its platform.
  • Venture investment in blockchain in this year’s first half was more than double the total for all of 2020. According to data from KPMG, $8.7 billion flowed into the sector through June 30, compared to $4.3 billion in 2020.
  • Axie Infinity became the first NFT game to surpass $1 billion in sales. The Pokemon-inspired player has even beaten the basketball card trading game NBA Top Shot to the $1 billion milestone, Decrypt reports.

That’s it for now. Thanks for spending some time with the newsletter today! A full revision history of it, including earlier drafts, is available here. If you’d like to get updates like this in your inbox every Sunday, please join our email list here.

As ever, a quick disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for journalistic purposes only, not as investment advice. For the latter, please DYOR and consult appropriate financial pros to make the most suitable choices for your needs.



Peter A. McKay

Storyteller, thought leader, and marketer focused on blockchain/web3. I publish #w3w, a newsletter about decentralization. Ex-reporter for the Wall St Journal.