They will not have to dip their hands in the murky pool of bitcoin, an unregulated instrument that relies on complex cryptography. Proponents revel in the fact that bitcoin is not controlled by governments or central banks.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission, in investigating certain failed cryptocurrency players, has ruled that at least some blockchain-based units are securities — a very different step from banning the whole idea outright. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has dubbed bitcoin a commodity.
Meanwhile, in other news: MiFID II, the latest truckload of regulation from the European Union, is about to dump on the retail bond market, perhaps crushing the life out of it. Banks will be responsible for making sure bonds can never find their way into untutored hands, at any time in the bond's life.
This absurdity is being done to protect retail investors from the risk that they might buy, for example, a Daimler or KfW bond without enough hand-holding. It's not just Europe: US banks have long been shy of saying anything about a 144A bond issue, for fear Mom and Pop might not be able to control their urge to buy it.
The mania for bitcoin and blockchain, the infatuation with their newness, is felt at the highest levels of financial governance. It runs completely counter to the whole, ultra-controlling thrust of post-crisis regulation. This cannot last — the only question is whether it takes a scandal to bring about the clampdown.