Bitcoin prices traded lower Tuesday as thought leaders shared differing opinions and the much-anticipated Consensus conference in New York failed to offer much in the way of a meaningful rally for the cryptocurrency market.
The No. 1 cryptocurrency by market value traded around $8,550 on subdued volume in afternoon action. Most of the other top cryptocurrencies joined bitcoin in its price decline.
Here's what you need to know in crypto for Tuesday, May 15.
Fed's Bullard on 'Non-Uniform' Risks
Speaking at the Consensus 2018 event in New York on Monday, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard explained that cryptocurrencies have begun to operate as non-uniform currencies, as there are more than 1,800 cryptocurrencies, many of which trade at different prices at the same time in the same local markets. Non-uniform currencies such as these have, at least historically, been rejected and replaced in financial markets, Bullard suggested. That means bitcoin and its crypto cohorts have quite a ways to go on the road toward ubiquity in global financial markets. "They've got to compete just like everybody else ... welcome to the currency competition game," Bullard said. "Cryptocurrencies may be unwittingly pushing in the wrong direction in trying to solve an important social problem, which is how best to facilitate market-based exchange," Bullard said. The dollar, on the other hand, is backed by a stable government with direct and sensical monetary policy and persistently low inflation -- because of that, it can better achieve the goals and meet the needs of the market. "The dollar is in great shape and will stay in great shape because it's been the winner for a long time," Bullard said. "Unless we screw up, I think the dollar is going to remain the dominant currency."
Blockchain as 'Magic Dust?'
After Amber Baldet, former blockchain head at Action Alerts PLUS holding JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) - Get Free Report , introduced a new project called Clovyr at Consensus this week, the venture sparked a fierce debate over the merits of blockchain technologies. Clovyr is a decentralized app store that allows users to access projects both public and permissioned plus enterprise networks. According to Jimmy Song, Blockchain Capital partner and noted bitcoin maximalist, the app is nothing more than a collection of "buzzwords." Speaking on a panel with Baldet and Joseph Lubin, founder of ethereum startup Consensys, Song argued that companies can't use "magical blockchain dust" to solve their problems. He illustrated how many are using buzzwords including blockchain, interoperability, open-source, enterprise-focused, etc., to draw in investment and cover blemishes. After Song said he doesn't see much other than bitcoin gaining traction in the next decade, Lubin said he would bet Song "any amount of bitcoin" he's wrong. The two said they would work out the bet on Twitter.
Mayweather-Backed ICO Founders Indicted
The founders of Floyd Mayweather-backed cryptocurrency firm Centra Tech have been indicted by a grand jury and accused of fraud, a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced this week. Raymond Trapani, Sohrab Sharma and Robert Farkas allegedly planned to defraud investors through a token sale labeled as a "scheme to induce victims to invest million of dollars' worth of digital funds for the purpose of unregistered securities." Authorities recovered more than $60 million in funds from the founders. Centra Tech's token sale had been endorsed by heavyweight boxer Mayweather, and the company claimed to have relationships with Visa Inc. (V) - Get Free Report and Mastercard Inc. (MA) - Get Free Report , which authorities said never existed.
Consensus Could Rake in Big Bucks
As the Consensus event nears its close, the total attendee count has proven staggering. The flagship conference, regarded by most as the biggest industry event of the year, more than tripled attendance in 2018, with the total nearing 8,500 people. The final estimate came from Barry Silbert, CEO and founder of Digital Currency Group (DCG). Silbert's DCG owns Coindesk, the firm behind Consensus. About 2,700 people attended the Consensus event in 2017, meaning the annual summit grew nearly 215% in a year. Most tickets for the conference cost about $2,000, and Consensus could rake in $17 million in ticket sales alone.