Silvergate Bank announced Wednesday evening (Mar 8) that it has collapsed, voluntarily entering bankruptcy liquidation after market concerns over its inability to file required tax documents last week. It will not survive. This is the biggest US bank failure since 2008-09. This is not even two months after it was reported that Silvergate Bank’s Q4 tax filings revealed a $4.3 billion bailout loan from the Federal Home Loans Bank (FHLB), a quasi-private consortium of banks & bondholders that are backed by US Congress– meaning the US taxpayers.
Silvergate was the biggest crypto-friendly bank in the US. Founded in 1988, Silvergate Bank got into crypto in 2014, and out of it in 2023. For as much as libertarian crypto fanatics scream about ‘de-fi’ & ‘independence from tradition finance’, these zealots are learning (the hard way) that even bitcoin can’t survive without access to banking services.
Lots of people, from venture capitalists to young kids, have put their money into crypto, but it’s much harder to get their money out. That’s the most valuable service Silvergate Bank provided to it’s crypto customers & clients, until it couldn’t anymore. Silvergate even ran their own crypto exchange (SEN) which has now been turned-off forever.
It’s been known since mid-January that Signature Bank received an $11.3 billion loan from the FHLB. Signature is now facing US regulator scrutiny as it inherits the mantle of crypto industry leader in banking. Signature’s stock is down 10% or so with the news of Silvergate’s collapse. Anyone who has been following developments in crypto knows, there’s trouble in the entire crypto banking sector, with banks facing massive liquidity issues as customers rush to cash out & put their money somewhere safer.
How is US Congress or the SEC going to help with all this? The Fed is raising interest rates, and crypto simply can’t afford that. Crypto needs free money from the Fed & venture capitalists for ‘innovative’ start-ups, and then taxpayer bailouts for when they crash.
Ally Financial bank (founded 1919, HQ Detroit) received $7.2 billion from the FHLB in Q4 2022, so they can been seen as the next disaster after Signature Bank. Provident Bancorp received $80 million from the FHLB in Q4 2022. These were massive (& secret) bailouts to crypto-friendly banks that didn’t help for more than a few months. Now the entire crypto industry needs another bailout to prevent bitcoin from free-falling.
Bitcoin & tether (‘stable coin’) are the top name brands in crypto. Their price must be maintained with massive injections of liquidity to re-inflate the bubble, or else it risks total collapse. This is the existential crisis the crypto industry (& capitalism) is facing now. Since the traditional financial sector is deeply implicated in the crypto mess, none of these pertinent facts are being reported in the corporate media.
Instead we get misinformation on the subjective price of bitcoin, as there is much stupidity posing as intellectualism. For example, Coindesk, the self-proclaimed industry leader in crypto reporting, just published a piece titled, “Price, Not Intrinsic Value, Is the True Measure of Bitcoin’s Success”, a fairly typical example of their muddle-headed libertarian thinking. It pontificates:
“My question is, what is intrinsic value? There is no such thing – value has and will always be subjective based on an individual’s need at the time. Demand drives everything and always has. The idea of intrinsic value is a fool’s errand. The question of whether a Rolls Royce is worth more than a bottle of water is subjective based on where you are and what you need. The demand for water in the desert is certainly going to be higher than that of a Rolls Royce. I exaggerate to make my point, but demand drives value. That’s unchanging over time.”
To clarify & correct the nonsense you just read in the paragraph above, the question of which is worth more, a Rolls Royce or a bottle of water, is NOT subjective. The Rolls is ALWAYS worth MUCH more than the bottle of water, no matter the conditions, because MUCH MORE human labor goes into making a luxury car. In a desert the Rolls can provide shade & shelter, If the RR is gassed-up, it can drive you out of the desert. That has much more value than a bottle of water, Only fools & liars would argue otherwise. There is nothing subjective about this, and there hasn’t been since Karl Marx explained it in Capital (1867).
Of course, libertarians don’t read Marx, they are only concerned with making money for themselves. So they make up stupid stuff, anything to justify their ends. Crypto needs another massive US taxpayer bailout, and it’s getting harder to hide them. That’s the panic in the crypto markets right now, the elephant in the room that no one is mentioning in the fake media.