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A more open and accountable future – the role of regulation and transparency in the blockchain industry

For the cryptocurrency industry, 2022 was a year of immense upheavals, causing governments, consumers, and other associated stakeholders to question the debated topics of trust, credibility, and user protection in the cryptocurrency industry.

Nadeem ANJARWALLA

Overall, this has created a need for organizations and leaders within the space to consistently reiterate their commitments, as well as demonstrate their initiatives geared towards building trust, ensuring user fund transparency, and fostering user safety.

However, it is important to note that while the events from last year have permeated a sense of short-term distrust, the overwhelmingly undeniable truth is that crypto is here to stay - a testament to the innumerable applications of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, especially in terms of improving financial inclusion and its simplification of borderless payment transactions.

Moving ahead with user fund transparency

Perhaps, the most worrisome question on the minds of crypto users and investors is “Will my money be safe?” This inclination is entirely expected for a plethora of reasons. To avert the feelings of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD), there is an undeniable need for reassurances that guarantee crypto users and investors the protection and financial security they require.

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For one, user funds must never be mismanaged and all measures must be maintained to keep user funds secure. Exchanges should follow three very simple rules: hold user assets in custody 1:1, never trade against your users, and don’t take on debt.

The cryptocurrency industry needs to prioritize user protection and allocate resources accordingly, focusing on ensuring security and maintaining transparency. To achieve this, many exchanges have taken the initiative by publicly sharing wallet addresses and reserve proofs, as well as creating recovery funds.

Proof of reserves is considered one of the most effective methods of increasing the transparency of user funds in cryptocurrency exchanges. Users have the right to verify the safekeeping of their assets held in a centralized exchange’s custody and the presence and nature of reserve assets on an exchange provide insights into the platform's operation; one of such reserves is Binance’s proof-of-reserves.

Additionally, education must be prioritized as users need to better understand the different crypto offerings on the market – so they can distinguish which ways are safe to enter and what actually makes certain crypto offerings trustworthy and reputable.

All exchanges must dedicate resources to provide their users with sufficient knowledge about their products, services, and the broader industry. Materials should clearly explain the risks associated to enable users to make informed choices. These efforts will continue to help rebuild trust within the industry and support future innovation.

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Regulatory compliance is key

The importance of adhering to regulatory standards in establishing stability, credibility, and confidence in cryptocurrencies is often overlooked by some as they believe it hinders the underlying innovation that drives the crypto industry.

However, smart regulation is beneficial to the safe custody of cryptocurrency and crypto providers must further shoulder the responsibility by engaging in open and ongoing communication about the structure of their products and the regulations that govern them. Like seatbelts in a car, a more regulated crypto market provides greater protections for everyday users.

Another key lesson from the past year is that regulation can play a crucial role in the revival, long-term success, and broader acceptance of cryptocurrencies, particularly in growing markets. By providing safety and peace of mind for users and conferring legitimacy, regulation can help restore the industry's image and renew consumers' trust in cryptocurrencies. After all, institutional interest will follow where regulation goes, further proving the value and legitimacy of the crypto industry.

To conclude, given the rapidly changing nature of the crypto industry and its protocols, it is imperative for the industry to collaborate and establish standards for the quality of security measures for exchanges and projects. Collaborating with law enforcement is crucial in order to support investigations and retrieve stolen funds. In addition, developing better incubation programs to equip new projects with adequate security measures is essential.

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By: Nadeem ANJARWALLA

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