Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Bitcoin is becoming part of the dollar-based financial system it once sought to displace.

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is beloved by people who want to transact outside the reach of any government. But it's gotten mainstream enough that politicians and regulators want to co-opt it and bring it squarely within their own fields of influence — even using it to help pay for an infrastructure bill.

The big picture: As crypto assets have grown to be worth well over $1 trillion, investors and financiers have increasingly wanted to get involved in the space — without taking any kind of legal risk.

  • They've been aggressively pushing for regulatory clarity, and often see their expensive compliance departments as a comparative advantage, differentiating them from the early true believers.
  • Regulation, however, would defeat much of the original purpose behind the desire to create cryptocurrency in the first place — the dream of being able to create a store of value that's untouched by government interference.

Context: When bitcoin first arrived on the scene, there was a chance governments would crush it, prosecuting anyone who used it.

  • Bitcoiners dreamed instead that it would thrive under the benign neglect of the government. While egregious fraud might be prosecuted, they mostly just wanted to be left alone.
  • They got their way, in some form or another, for many years. But those days are coming to an end, and we're now clearly at the beginning of the end of cryptocurrency as an anarcho-libertarian Utopia.
  • Cryptocurrency's future may be as an integral part of the existing financial system, regulated just as much as any other financial product.

Driving the news: SEC chair Gary Gensler — who previously taught a course on cryptocurrencies at MIT — gave an important speech last week laying out a maximalist vision for the degree to which his agency can and should regulate the asset class.

  • Crypto giant Circle has announced its intention to become a bank, fully regulated by the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the FDIC.
  • FTX, the fastest-growing crypto exchange, last valued at $18 billion, wants to become a regulated stock exchange where stocks can be traded on the blockchain.
  • Ethereum, the upstart rival to bitcoin, is in the process of moving to "Ethereum 2.0," a more centralized system that transfers power to the largest holders of the currency, including its founder, Vitalik Buterin.

How it works: A more regulated system would help solve problems like the difficulty of buying a home using the proceeds of crypto sales, or customers of NBA TopShot being unable to transfer their money to banks including JPMorgan and Wells Fargo.

The bottom line: The majority of crypto activity continues to take place outside the U.S., often in unregulated (and very risky) venues. But when the U.S. wants to regulate global financial activity, it generally finds it very easy to do so.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Nov 17, 2021 - Economy & Business

Staples Center goes crypto

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The Staples Center in Los Angeles will be renamed Crypto.com Arena, the arena's owner announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Cryptocurrencies are pushing deeper into the American mainstream.

Crypto believers bid on U.S. Constitution

Photo by Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Constitution — one copy of it, anyway — is the latest asset to become the focus of crypto-powered, meme-stock-style investment fever.

What's happening: People are ponying up millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency to buy into ConstitutionDAO, a consortium assembling a bid on an original Constitution that's for sale in a Thursday Sotheby's auction.

Lawmakers introduce bill aimed at crypto reporting rules in infrastructure package

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is introducing a bill Thursday that aims to narrow the scope of qualifying cryptocurrency "brokers" subject to a tax reporting provision included in the new infrastructure law.

Why it matters: The provision created an uproar in early August within the cryptocurrency industry as it would force a wide range of network participants to report transaction information to the government even if it's technically impossible for them to do so.