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Opinion
Matt Levine

Crypto, Clearing and Credit

Also remote work, Russia CDS and crypto lawsuits.

The basic philosophical difference between the traditional financial system and the cryptocurrency system is that traditional finance is about the extension of credit, and crypto is not. That is an exaggeration in various ways, but I think that it is essentially true.

So consider the simplest aspects of these systems. Like money: A US dollar is, essentially, an entry on the ledger of a bank, representing that bank’s debt to you. Basically every dollar that you own is someone else’s debt to you. A Bitcoin is not. A Bitcoin is an entry on the decentralized ledger of Bitcoin; there is a fixed supply of Bitcoins; owning a Bitcoin is like owning a gold nugget; no debt is involved.