Crypto sceptics look to bend the ear of regulators at inaugural event this week

LONDON – Cryptocurrency critics, including economists and researchers, will gather in London and online this week to get their message across to regulators about the booming but volatile sector.

A number of governments have expressed concerns over cryptocurrencies, but those behind the first Crypto Policy Symposium say they hope the event will prompt much more “critical discourse” of the sector.

“There are so many crypto conferences, but they are funded by the crypto industry,” said Mr Martin Walker, a co-organiser.

“The goal is to dispel some myths created by the crypto industry and to make policymakers start asking the right questions.”

But Mr Walker, a banking IT expert, is quick to reject claims that the event, scheduled to take place from Sept 5 to 6, is an “anti-crypto conference”.

Instead, he says it is a chance to hear the critical voices of specialists in financial bubbles, researchers who have evaluated the industry’s carbon footprint and engineers who question the effectiveness of decentralised technologies.

“We’ve got regulators from all over the world,” he said.

About 1,000 people have signed up to watch the conference online and British officials are expected to attend a live event in London on Tuesday.

The conference comes as the price of Bitcoin has plunged from a peak of nearly US$69,000 last October to around US$20,000.

The risky nature of the ultra-volatile and poorly regulated market for retail investors will be particularly highlighted.

Uninformed users

Many central banks and financial market regulators have warned about the dangers posed by cryptocurrencies.

But in the absence of a clear legislative framework, users are rarely informed when making their investments, say crypto critics.

The collapse of crypto investment platform Celsius Network left customers in despair and unable to recover investments that sometimes included life savings.