Stock Market Could Crash Another 20% If U.S. Plunges Into Recession

As a growing number of investment banks and company chiefs warn that the likelihood of a recession is increasing, analysts at Morgan Stanley are telling clients that the stock market—despite reeling from a steep selloff in recent weeks—has plenty of room to fall before hitting levels consistent with recession-era lows, which would be especially bad for cyclical industries like travel and hospitality.

Despite major stock indexes plunging more than 20% below recent highs, markets are still only down by about 60% of the average drawdown compared with previous recessions (which denote two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth), Morgan Stanley analysts told clients in a Tuesday note.

As the Federal Reserve works to combat decades-high inflation with interest rate hikes that will likely stunt economic growth, a recession “is no longer just a tail risk,” analysts led by Michael Wilson wrote, putting the odds of one over the next year at 35%, up from 20% in March.

They estimate the S&P 500 could plunge as much as 20% to 3,000 points, from current levels of 3,770, if the U.S. falls into recession, citing earnings that tend to fall an average of 14% during recessions—a marked turnaround from record profits and 25% growth last year.

“The bear market will not be over until recession arrives—or the risk of one is extinguished,” the analysts said, adding that market weakness will likely continue over the next three to six months in the face of “very stubborn” inflation readings.

With high prices deterring some consumer spending, Morgan Stanley says stocks tied to discretionary spending, like those in retail, hotels, restaurants and clothing, are at higher risk of a downturn, while those tied to the internet, payments and durable household goods (like appliances and computers) are less at risk.

The note comes the same day Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the U.S. economy will “more likely than not” face a recession in the near term, echoing concerns raised by several other top business leaders and financial institutions following last week’s steeper-than-expected hike in key interest rates, which tend to deter spending by making borrowing more expensive.

Morgan Stanley’s not alone in raising recession odds this week. In a note to clients Monday, Goldman Sachs’ chief economist, Jan Hatzius, said the firm now sees “recession risk as higher and more front-loaded,” given the Fed’s more aggressive rate hike, putting the odds of a recession over the next two years at 48%, up from 35% previously. The investment bank estimates tighter financial conditions could drag down GDP as much as 2 percentage points over the next year.

Restaurants are most at risk of a pullback in spending, according to a Morgan Stanley survey of some 2,000 consumers. Roughly 75% of respondents said they’ll cut back on dining out over the next six months, while 60% said they’d do so on deliveries and takeout from restaurants. Though driving much of the inflationary gains, essential items like gas and groceries should see more resilient spending, with roughly 40% of consumers saying they’d cut back on either.

Major stock indexes plunged into bear market territory last week ahead of the Fed’s largest interest rate hike in 28 years, and the gloomy sentiment has ushered in waves of layoffs among recently booming technology and real estate companies. “We don’t believe the Fed can stop the issues that are causing inflation on the supply side without absolutely wrecking the economy, but at this point, it looks like they are resigned to the fact that it must be done,” says Brett Ewing, chief market strategist of First Franklin Financial Services. Goldman Sachs has warned clients it expects another 75-basis-point hike in July.

I’m a senior reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Source: Stock Market Could Crash Another 20% If U.S. Plunges Into Recession—These Industries Are Most At Risk

The best hope for stocks right now is a recession that crushes inflation and allows the Fed to slow, stop or even reverse rate hikes.

Why it matters: Down 20.5% so far in 2022, it’s the ugliest year for the S&P since 1962. The drop vaporized $9 trillion in paper wealth, delivering a psychological shock to millions whose retirement is mostly in stocks.

Driving the news: Facing persistent inflation, the Fed delivered its largest rate hike since 1994 on Wednesday.

  • The increase is the monetary-policy equivalent of stomping on the country’s economic brakes — sharply increasing the risk that growth contracts.
  • Despite the recent beating shares have taken, the Fed’s announcement was greeted with open arms by investors. The S&P 500 rose 1.5%. The Nasdaq rose 2.5%. Interestingly, the Russell 2000 — which is more closely tied to short-term ups and downs of the economy — rose less, at just 1.4%.

The big picture: A huge rate hike that raises the risk of recession may sound like a bad thing for stocks — but with inflation still rising, it isn’t.

  • Essentially, investors are saying they prefer a big, sharp Fed-induced economic shock now if it quickly gets inflation under control. In theory, that could allow lower rates to return after inflation is vanquished.
  • Low interest rates have been crucial to the performance of stocks over the last decade.

Context: While Americans have a habit of looking at the stock market as an economic indicator, the linkage between economic growth and stock market performance is surprisingly weak, and, some academics say, nonexistent. The most extreme example of this reality arose during the bleakest moments of the COVID-related recession.

  • In April 2020, the U.S. economy was essentially on life support. Unemployment that month was 14.7%. There were, quite literally, bread lines miles long.
  • That month the S&P 500 posted its best month in 33 years, rising nearly 13%.

What gives? Well, in late March 2020, the Federal Reserve had to cut interest rates to zero and restart money-printing programs do deal with the COVID crisis. (The Federal government also began dumping what would ultimately be trillions of dollars into the economy to keep people afloat.)

The intrigue: But don’t recessions hurt corporate earnings? Wouldn’t that make stocks fall?

  • Earnings are one ingredient in stock prices, and they can definitely fall during recessions. But recently, interest rates — essentially the yield on the 10-year Treasury note — have played a more important role in establishing stock prices than earnings.
  • That’s because those interest rates largely determine the valuation multiple — otherwise known as a price-to-earnings ratio — investors use to determine the price they’re willing to pay for those future earnings (effectively, the price of a stock).
  • TL;DR: Higher rates = lower valuations, and vice versa.
  • So, even if earnings are expected to fall, stock prices can still rise, if valuations rise enough. Those valuations are largely determined by interest rates — and those rates are largely determined by Fed decisions.

The Federal Reserve made an aggressive new move in its campaign to bring down inflation Wednesday, raising its target interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, the steepest rate hike since 1994 — and indicated another similar move could be coming next month.

Driving the news: In addition to increasing their target for short-term interest rates to a range of between 1.5% and 1.75% Fed officials projected that their target rate will reach 3.4% late this year, far higher than the 1.9% they envisioned in March. Mortgages, car loans and credit card debt are all about to get more expensive.

Yields on U.S. government bonds — known as Treasuries — rocketed in recent days, as Friday’s inflation report convinced many that a combination of persistently high inflation and aggressive Federal Reserve interest hikes, is on the way. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note surged to nearly 3.50% in recent days, a level not seen since 2011……

  Matt Phillips

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Bitcoin Brice Trades Around $21,000 As Crypto Firms Announce Layoffs

Cryptocurrencies have been sinking along with other higher-risk assets as the Federal Reserve steadily reverses the aggressive monetary policies it adopted earlier in the coronavirus pandemic. Lately, its efforts to raise interest rates to combat surging inflation have further dented investors‘ risk appetite. The market value of the entire crypto sector has fallen to less than $1 trillion from about $3 trillion in November, according to CoinMarketCap. Those falls reflect a significant drop in trading activity and momentum, and until that turns around, industry players like Coinbase are likely to remain under pressure, said KBW Managing Director Kyle Voigt.

Coinbase Chief Executive Brian Armstrong said the company had grown too quickly, expanding from about 1,250 employees at the start of last year to around 5,000 currently. “We saw the opportunities but we needed to massively scale our team to be positioned to compete in a broad array of bets,” he wrote in a note to staff. “While we tried our best to get this just right, in this case it is now clear to me that we over-hired.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
COIN COINBASE GLOBAL INC. 51.58 -0.43 -0.83%

The price of ether, the in-house currency of the Ethereum network, fell 4.5% to $1,187.30, its lowest close since Jan. 21, 2021. Over the weekend, the price fell below $1,360, the early 2019 high from the previous cycle. Other cryptocurrencies were mixed. Cardano fell 1.9%, but Solana was up 1.3% and Stellar was up 0.5%.

Source: Bitcoin price trades around $21,000 as crypto firms announce layoffs | Fox Business

BlockFi, a platform for trading and lending cryptocurrency, announced via a blog post on Monday that it’s laying off 20 percent of its 850 employees — around 170 to 200 people. CEO Zac Prince said in a Twitter thread that the layoffs can be traced to a “dramatic shift in macroeconomic conditions” and BlockFi’s push to become profitable.

It’s not the only crypto company letting workers go. On Friday, Crypto.com (the company with the Super Bowl ad featuring LeBron James) announced that it’s laying off around 260 workers, or around 5 percent of its workforce, according to a Twitter thread from its CEO, Kris Marszalek.

The layoffs come as the crypto market is struggling as a whole. The value of Bitcoin and Ethereum have been falling throughout Monday morning, and Celsius, a lending platform, has halted withdrawals, citing “extreme market conditions.” (BlockFi has specifically said that it has “no exposure to Celsius” on Twitter.) Binance, a large crypto exchange, paused Bitcoin withdrawals for about three hours, citing a technical issue, and within the past few months, we’ve seen coins like Terra essentially go to zero.

Crypto firms have struggled to weather the storm. Coinbase announced that it was slowing hiring in May and reportedly rescinded over 300 job offers the next month; several other companies, like Gemini, Mercado Bitcoin, and Bitso have also had to lay off at least 10 percent of their workers within the past month.

BlockFi says in its post that the layoffs come after a period of explosive growth. The company says it had “about 150 employees” at the end of 2020 and has since grown to a headcount of “over 850.” After the layoffs, however, the company will be down to around 600 employees.

Similarly, Crypto.com was riding high just a few short months ago. In November 2021, it reportedly paid $700 million to plaster its name onto a sports arena in Los Angeles, which was formerly known as the Staples Center. “In the next few years, people will look back at this moment as the moment when crypto crossed the chasm into the mainstream,” Marszalek told the Los Angeles Times when the naming deal, which is supposed to last for 20 years, was announced.

It’s easy to see why crypto companies have been hiring; the space has exploded during the pandemic with prices for major coins rocketing up, NFTs exploding onto the scene, and celebrities and companies alike hyping the blockchain. But, as 2022 has worn on and interest rates have gone up, the growth has started to reverse; trillions of dollars in value have been wiped out from the crypto market, NFT sales have slumped, and companies, including BlockFi, have run into trouble with regulators as governments try to figure out how to handle crypto. Not everyone who bought the boom has made it, and many in the space are predicting a “crypto winter.

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Trading Commissions May Return If the SEC Makes Big Stock-Trading Changes

The Securities and Exchange Commission is aiming to shake up the mechanics of US stock trading in the wake of last year’s meme-stock frenzy, and some experts in the markets say changes could lead to a shift back to retail investors paying commissions to make trades.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler in a speech this week outlined six areas of market structure where rules could be updated to foster greater efficiencies, particularly for retail investors. Gensler is proposing the agency consider sending retail stock orders to auctions under which trading firms would compete to execute the transactions to ensure investors receive the best prices.

Such a move could alter the payment for order flow system, or PFOF, under which brokerage firms including Robinhood, TDAmeritrade, and E-Trade are compensated for sending customers’ orders to market makers rather than sending them directly to an exchange. Among the biggest market makers are Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial. PFOF supports zero-commission trading at online brokers that serve amateur investors.

A significant PFOF change “may reset the entire playing field and cost individual investors more money because we’ll have to go back to some sort of commission model,” Sean Bonner, CEO of Guild Financial, a self-direct investment app that focuses on active and retired members of the military, told Insider. Guild, an early-stage business, doesn’t use the payment for order flow system.

“I can guarantee you that commission model will be much higher than the rebates paying the payment for order flow — much higher, by a factor of 10s to 100s,” said Bonner, who has more than 20 years of experience on Wall Street from floor trading to working as a mutual fund manager. “Retail investors are saving billions of dollars a year on the current payment for order flow model.”

Major wholesalers such as Citadel, Virtu, G1X and Two Sigma provided $6.1 billion in price improvements in 2020 and 2021 combined, said BrokerChooser, based on its analysis. Zero-commission trading in recent years has fueled a boom in activity among individual investors who no longer had to pay their brokers as much as $6.95 for each trade.

Proposed changes to shake up rules in the US stock market was met with criticism from Robinhood’s chief legal officer Dan Gallagher this week. “It is a really good climate for retail, so to go in and muck with it right now, to me, is a little worrisome,” Gallagher said at a conference in New York, according to The Wall Street Journal. Retail traders are benefitting from zero-commission transactions and fast execution of trades, he said.

Following last year’s meme-stock frenzy, Gensler last year asked the SEC to review rules related to equity-market structure, including payment for order flow. PFOF is banned in some countries. Gensler isn’t proposing a ban but such a move would make it “almost inevitable” that retail investors return to a commission-based system, Kerim Derhalli, founder and CEO of investment app Invstr, told Insider.

“I don’t think anyone is going to be willing to provide brokerage services on their own without having some form of revenue associated with it,” he said. The Invstr app has 3 million users worldwide and the company doesn’t use the PFOF system. “If we return to a commission structure then you could argue that might discourage people from trading as frequently as they have been trading. You could, on the other hand, argue that if people start trading less, and investing more, they’ll be better off,” over the long term, he said.

“What would seem to be a simple solution would be [for Gensler] to say, ‘We’re going to make PFOF illegal and … retail trading needs to go through the exchange where it’s transparent and the prices are transparent and people can have confidence in the system,” said Derhalli. Bonner at Guild said overall he sees a ban on PFOF hurting retailer traders. “To be honest, a lot of brokers would hope that they get rid of this payment for order flow model and get back to charging for commissions because there’s a lot more revenue for the brokers in that.”

Gary Gensler is trying to level the playing field for small investors. He’s expected to outline a proposal for new rules to help them – possibly in a speech later today. The idea is to make sure those investors get the best deal when buying or selling stocks. When you make a trade, you may go through a broker. Some are paid to send their orders to wholesalers – who may not give you the best price.

Dennis Kelleher of the investor advocacy group Better Markets said the SEC is thinking about creating auctions. “Which should drive down the cost for retail investors and therefore give them the best price available,” he said. But the plumbing of trading is complicated. And if you divert the flow of buy and sell orders, some small investors could get hurt. Jaret Seiberg with the investment bank Cowen said those deals between brokers and wholesalers paved the way for free trading.

“If you start dismantling the system it’s not clear that you’re going to be able to still provide free access to trading,” he said. Investors advocates said at least with a commission you know what you’re paying upfront. There’s plenty of time for this debate. Any new rules would have to go through a long, public process.

Source: Trading Commissions May Return If the SEC Makes Big Stock-Trading Changes

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Binance Disputes Claim Its Exchange Hosted $2.35 Billion In Laundered Illicit Funds

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has processed transactions totaling at least $2.35 billion stemming from hacks, investment frauds and illegal drug sales, according to a Reuters investigation, published Monday. The data provided by Amsterdam-based analysis firm Crystal Blockchain showed that from 2017 to 2022 buyers and sellers on the world’s largest darknet drugs market, a Russian-language site called Hydra, used the exchange to make and receive payments worth $780 million.

Additionally, the German police said investigators began seeing criminals in Europe turn to Binance in 2020 to launder some of the proceeds from investment fraud schemes that caused victims, many of them pensioners, to lose a total of $750 million euros ($800 million).

The flow of illicit funds through the exchange represents a very small portion of Binance’s overall trading volume (over $9.5 trillion in 2021 according to The Block) but is still significant as regulators and policymakers, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, raise concerns over the illegal use of cryptocurrencies. The FTC last week reported that more than $1 billion had been illicitly obtained from crypto fraud and scams between January 2021 and March 2022.

Reuters has also revealed for the first time how North Korea’s hacking group Lazarus, which allegedly helps fund Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, used Binance to launder some $5.4 million of cryptocurrency stolen in September 2020 from Slovakian crypto exchange Eterbase. In January, Reuters reported that Binance has kept weak money-laundering checks on its users until mid-2021 despite concerns raised by senior company officials.

Binance’s chief communications officer Patrick Hillmann told Reuters in an email that Binance did not consider the news outlet’s calculation to be accurate. Hillmann reportedly said that the exchange uses transaction monitoring and risk assessments to “ensure that any illegal funds are tracked, frozen, recovered and/or returned to their rightful owner” and is working closely with law enforcement to disrupt criminal networks using cryptocurrencies, including in Russia.

In a statement to Forbes, Binance has called the report a “woefully misinformed op-ed that uses outdated information from 2019 and unverified personal attestations.” “The fact is that Binance has some of the strictest AML policies in the fintech industry and plays a significant leadership role in helping law enforcement deal with cyber and financial crime. Since the article ran, we have received an outpouring of support from partners in law enforcement across the globe,” a Binance spokesperson said.

Editor’s note: the story and headline were updated to reflect Binance’s response.

I report on cryptocurrencies and other applications of blockchain technology. I also edit the weekly Forbes Crypto Confidential newsletter

Source: Binance Disputes Claim Its Exchange Hosted $2.35 Billion In Laundered Illicit Funds

Critics by

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, has disputed claims that it has acted as a vehicle for the laundering of at least $2.35 billion in illicit funds.

  • A Reuters report claimed that Binance has become a “hub for hackers, fraudsters and drug traffickers” with strong links to Russia-based dark web market Hydra.
  • Matthew Price, Binance’s senior director of investigations who was the lead investigator on Hydra when he worked at the IRS criminal investigation, told CoinDesk: “What I think is very skewed in this report is that every exchange has exposure to dark net markets.”
  • Tigran Gambaryan, the exchange’s global head of intelligence who also worked at the IRS’ cyber crimes unit, added: “It’s something that completely disregards facts to get an agenda across.”
  • “The biggest part of this story is completely ignored. You can’t control deposits, you can only control what you can do afterwards,” Gambaryan added.
  • Price and Gambaryan said that Binance has a stringent process in place that handles exposure to fraud, dark net markets and scams using blockchain analytics software provided by Chainalysis and Elliptic.
  • “There is a system in place. We do have risk scoring for everything you can think of. We have everything tagged internally based on our tools, then we are able to do post-transaction monitoring with Chainalysis,” Gambaryan noted.
  • Binance published 50 pages of email exchanges between its intelligence team and Reuters, in which it comments on recovering $5.8 million from the Ronin hack, as well as its assistance in multiple fraud cases.
  • The email exchange reiterates that the reporter was confusing “indirect” exposure to dark net markets and “direct exposure.”
  • Data from Chainalysis reveals that 0.15% of all cryptocurrency transactions in 2021 were associated with illicit activity, while the U.N. estimates that between 2% and 5% of fiat currency is linked to some form of criminal activity.

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As Crypto Losses Hit Investors, Litigation Picks Up

Lawsuits over cryptocurrency losses are mounting across the country, as investing in digital tokens and coins has become mainstream and the money at stake has increased significantly.

Even before the recent plunge in crypto prices, the industry already was seeing an uptick in lawsuits, which have come in several forms. Many of the cases have been fueled by investors who allege some digital coins were hyped and sold under false pretenses. Some proposed class-action suits allege pump-and-dump schemes involving celebrity promoters. Others allege that some digital tokens are unregistered securities or that cryptocurrency issuers were deceitful in their marketing.

Collectively, the lawsuits speak to both the troubles and successes of a maturing industry.

‘‘We’re seeing all of the normal kinds of litigation that you would see in more traditional companies.

— Jason Gottlieb, a partner at Morrison Cohen

“We’re seeing all of the normal kinds of litigation that you would see in more traditional companies,” said Jason Gottlieb, a partner at Morrison Cohen LLP who tracks cryptocurrency litigation. Mr. Gottlieb said the industry also was attracting an influx of plaintiff and defense lawyers who realize the crypto market is no longer “some obscure backwater for a small gaggle of techno-libertarian nerds. It’s a real business.”

Among recent lawsuits is a case filed in a California federal court over losses in the stablecoin GYEN. The suit accuses GMO-Z.com Trust Co., the issuer of GYEN, and crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc. COIN -11.15% of advertising the stablecoin as being pegged to the Japanese yen, thereby providing a safer investment than more volatile cryptocurrencies. But when GYEN began trading on Coinbase in November, it immediately became untethered from the yen, leading the coin to spike in value and then drop 80% in one day, the lawsuit alleges. A similar peg break occurred in May 2021 when GYEN became available on a separate exchange, according to the lawsuit.

Kenneth Donovan, 27 years old and a plaintiff who began investing in cryptocurrency in 2019, said he bought $335,000 worth of GYEN last year after reading its white paper and learning the New York Department of Financial Services had authorized GMO-Z.com to issue stablecoins in the state.

In a matter of hours, he said, his investment plummeted to $3,000, wiping out nearly his entire life savings. Before the loss, he, his wife and their young daughter lived comfortably off his investments and gig work for Uber and DoorDash driving shifts, Mr. Donovan said. “I live paycheck-to-paycheck now.”

Some GYEN investors were risk-averse individuals who saw the cryptocurrency’s purported stability as a way to safely enter the crypto market, said Elizabeth Kramer, a partner at Erickson Kramer Osborne LLP, which filed the suit—its first crypto class-action complaint. GMO-Z.com didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for Coinbase declined to comment on the litigation. Coinbase said in a blog post in January that the break in parity between GYEN and the yen in November was the result of market conditions specific to GYEN. Coinbase didn’t cause the break, the company said in the post.

John Jasnoch, a partner at Scott + Scott, said his firm has “gotten bullish on crypto” and is handling six cryptocurrency cases, with more in the pipeline. His portfolio includes three proposed class-action suits filed this year over investment losses in SafeMoon, a blockchain-based digital token that charges investors a 10% fee when they sell the asset. SafeMoon founders said the levy—half of which is redistributed to current investors—discourages sales of the token and encourages long-term holding.

The plaintiffs allege that SafeMoon was a pump-and-dump scheme in which it used celebrities such as boxer Jake Paul, musician Nick Carter and rapper Lil Yachty to promote the tokens on social media. SafeMoon founders encouraged purchases of the token while selling off their own holdings as the trading volume remained inflated, the plaintiffs allege.

Lawyers for SafeMoon, Mr. Paul and Lil Yachty didn’t respond to requests for comment. In a court filing in one of the suits, a lawyer for Mr. Carter denied that his client acted as a promoter for SafeMoon and asked a judge to dismiss the complaint. As lawsuits grow, firms that do defense work are seeing increasing demand for representation from crypto companies and trading platforms that want to avoid legal liability and regulatory scrutiny.

Ian McGinley, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, said crypto firms are eager for help navigating “an atmosphere where the rules are not particularly clear.” Facing a lightly regulated environment, some crypto investors have looked to courts to answer core legal questions for the industry, such as whether digital tokens are securities that should be subject to the same regulations as stocks.

In one closely watched federal suit, crypto investors have accused Coinbase of violating securities laws by acting as a seller of unregistered tokens. The platform has asked a judge in New York to dismiss the case, arguing that it matches buyers and sellers but doesn’t transact directly with users. It also says the tokens aren’t securities.

The value of digital money reached a peak of nearly $3 trillion in November before plummeting by about $1.7 trillion in recent months. The crypto market’s volatility over the past six months and the recent plunge of popular cryptocurrencies will likely lead to more suits in the future, lawyers say. Coming litigation will likely focus on alleged misrepresentations around the strength of the technology of certain coins, said Mr. Jasnoch, the Scott + Scott partner.

“It will be cases involving bigger projects that promise the moon and the stars and have just been battered by the market when all these promises didn’t come true,” he said.

By James Fanelli

Source: As Crypto Losses Hit Investors, Litigation Picks Up – WSJ

Critics by : Sam Skolnik 

Cryptocurrency litigation is soaring, prompted by a surge of investors in the space, and US proposals promise more rules to fight over in coming months and years. Crypto has generated more than 200 class action lawsuits and other private litigation as of this month, up more than 50% since the start of 2020, according to Morrison Cohen, which tracks the activity. Half of all crypto litigation are class actions or private suits, according to the firm’s data.

“There’s been a steady stream of cases from regulators, but what’s really exploded is private litigation,” said Jason Gottlieb, chair of Morrison Cohen’s white collar and regulatory enforcement practice group in New York. The rise in litigation is encouraging Big Law operations to bolster their crypto practices. Firms including Jenner & Block, Goodwin Procter, and Morrison & Foerster in the last few months have added new crypto partners to their rosters, including former fraud prosecutors, securities litigators and investment funds lawyers.

The litigation growth comes at a tumultuous time for crypto. A backer of the collapsed TerraUSD stablecoin lost $3 billion in cryptocurrency reserves in a failed effort to restore its peg to the dollar, Bloomberg News reported Monday. Bitcoin on May 12 hit its lowest level since 2020 and was down 50% from its November high, according to Bloomberg. Perkins Coie has so much activity on the crypto front that it holds weekly team calls, typically including 50 to 70 firm attorneys, said Joe Cutler, firmwide co-chair of the firm’s fintech industry group. “We have content coming out of our ears,” he said.

At Latham & Watkins, more than 700 lawyers worked on crypto or blockchain issues in 2021 alone, said Yvette Valdez, co-chair of the firm’s global digital assets and Web3 practice. “The market is exploding, not just at the partner level but at the associate level too,” Valdez said. The result is a buyer’s market for lawyers, as firms see colleagues leave for general counsel positions at crypto companies, said Joshua Ashley Klayman, U.S. head of fintech and head of blockchain and digital assets for Linklaters in New York.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, Binance Holdings Ltd., is looking to hire more than 30 lawyers, Bloomberg Law reported Monday. Another cryptocurrency exchange, Bittrex Global GmbH, hired a Shearman & Sterling senior associate late last year to be its general counsel.

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