February 26, 2024

Crypto acted as safe haven amid SVB and Signature bank run: Cathie Wood

Amid all the chaos surrounding multiple bank runs in the United States, Cathie Wood, CEO of asset management firm ARK Invest, said cryptocurrencies have acted as a safe haven amid the ongoing banking crisis in the United States. She blamed the recent downfall of the likes of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature and others on the policy failures of the Federal Reserve.

Cryptocurrency prices have shot up, with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETHtouching new multimonth highs amid the crisis.

In a Twitter thread on March 16, Wood criticized the Fed for being unable to avert bank runs despite all the signs being there. She said she was “baffled that banks and regulators could not convince the Fed that disaster loomed.” She argued that Fed policy was the primary culprit for the ongoing banking crisis due to a venture capital funding drought.

She pointed toward the asset-to-liability mismatch, which is typical in most circumstances for banks but untenable in the current scenario, with deposits leaving the banking system for the first time since the 1930s. Securities earnings for banks were only 1%–2% against deposits paying 3%–5%. Like SVB, some banks were forced to sell held-to-maturity securities, recognizing losses that depleted their equity accounts.

Wood also pointed out that the ongoing crisis wasn’t caused by cryptocurrency, with the ecosystem under heavy scrutiny since FTX’s downfall, which has led to a regulatory crackdown. Wood said that regulators are using crypto as a scapegoat for their own lapses in the oversight of traditional banking.

Wood has long been a known crypto proponent, often reflected in her company’s investment in emerging markets — especially crypto. She said that the current banking crisis “would not have been possible in the decentralized, transparent, auditable, and over-collateralized crypto asset ecosystem.”

Related: US credit crunch means it’s time to buy gold and Bitcoin: Novogratz

Wood projected crypto as a solution to the central points of failure, opacity and regulatory mistakes in the traditional financial system. She argued that as ”the scapegoat for policy mistakes, crypto will move offshore, depriving the US of one of the most important innovations in history.”