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加密行業站到最后的人

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Finance & economics

財經板塊

Buttonwood: Last man standing

梧桐樹:站到最后的人

Is Sam Bankman-Fried the John Pierpont Morgan of crypto?

山姆·班克曼-弗里德是加密行業的約翰·皮爾龐特·摩根嗎?

Two years ago scarcely anyone in mainstream finance had heard of Sam Bankman-Fried, or FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange he launched in 2019.

兩年前,主流金融界幾乎沒有人聽說過山姆·班克曼-弗里德,或是他在2019年推出的加密貨幣交易所FTX。

Both gained greater prominence, first as the crypto craze reached fever pitch and then as crypto fell to Earth.

隨著加密熱潮達到狂熱的程度,之后加密技術又落地,二者都獲得了更大的知名度。

Mr Bankman-Fried (widely known as SBF) has lately been at the centre of attempts to rescue beleaguered crypto firms.

班克曼-弗里德(被廣泛稱為SBF)最近一直是試圖拯救陷入困境的加密公司的中心人物。

To some observers, the role calls to mind the rescue missions organised by John Pierpont Morgan and America’s other banking scions in the early 20th century.

在一些觀察人士看來,這一角色讓人想起了20世紀初約翰·皮爾龐特·摩根和美國其他銀行業后代的救援行動。

The comparison is surprisingly instructive.

這一比較具有驚人的啟發意義。

The recent slump has left destruction in its wake.

最近的經濟低迷留下了毀滅性的后果。

Some crypto-lending firms, notably Celsius, have collapsed; some stablecoins, like terra, have been obliterated.

一些加密貸款公司,特別是Celsius,已經倒閉;一些穩定幣,如Terra穩定幣,已經被摧毀。

At least one crypto hedge fund, Three Arrows Capital, has gone bust.

至少有一家加密對沖基金--三箭資本--已經破產。

Estimates of SBF’s personal wealth have tumbled, too, from $26bn just over three months ago to nearer $8bn now.

對SBF個人財富的估計數額也大幅下降,從僅僅3個多月前的260億美元降至現在的不到80億美元。

Nonetheless, his companies (FTX and Alameda, a trading firm) seem to be the great survivors of the recent chaos.

盡管如此,他的公司(FTX和交易公司Alameda)似乎是最近混亂局面中最大的幸存者。

FTX had kept employee numbers relatively low; SBF has said the exchange is still profitable.

FTX將員工數量保持在相對較低的水平;SBF表示,該交易所仍在盈利。

Well-timed funding rounds early this year saw its global and American arms raising $400m each.

今年早些時候,恰逢其時的幾輪融資讓該公司的全球和美國子公司分別籌集了4億美元。

That has enabled SBF to help others in need.

這使得SBF能夠幫助其他有需要的人。

In June Voyager Digital, a broker, secured loans worth $485m from Alameda.

6月份,經濟商Voyager Digital從Alameda獲得了價值4.85億美元的貸款。

BlockFi, another trader, has received a revolving line of credit from FTX’s American arm.

另一家交易商BlockFi從FTX的美國分公司獲得了循環信貸額度。

To some this harks back to America’s banking panic of 1907.

對一些人來說,這讓人回想起1907年美國銀行業的恐慌。

The economy was in recession; towards the end of that year the thinly capitalised Knickerbocker Trust Company, one of America’s largest financial firms at the time, collapsed.

那一年,經濟陷入衰退;到年底時,當時美國最大的金融公司之一、資本稀少的尼克伯克信托公司倒閉了。

Morgan went on to orchestrate a series of private rescues with other financiers, offering deposits in the tens of millions of dollars to various banks in order to prevent runs.

摩根繼續與其他金融家一起策劃了一系列私人救援行動,向多家銀行提供數千萬美元的存款,以防止擠兌。

Those actions are usually credited with preventing a deeper, more damaging crisis.

人們稱贊這些行動阻止了更嚴重、更具破壞性的危機。

No other trusts went under.

沒有其他信托公司倒閉。

At first glance, then, the comparison is a flattering one for SBF.

因此,乍一看,這種比較對SBF來說是一種恭維。

But 1907 was not the Morgan family’s only attempt at a big bail-out.

但1907年這次并不是摩根家族唯一一次嘗試進行大規模紓困。

When the Wall Street crash struck in 1929, J.P. Morgan junior, like his father, sought to bring together a gang of plutocrats to stem the tide.

1929年華爾街崩盤時,小約翰·皮爾龐特·摩根和他的父親一樣,試圖召集一幫富豪來力挽狂瀾。

Several bankers and brokers pledged to buy $125m in stocks, equivalent to around 0.1% of America’s GDP at the time (which would be about $27bn today).

一些銀行家和經紀商承諾購買1.25億美元的股票,相當于當時美國國內生產總值的0.1%左右(約為現在的270億美元)。

The plan failed miserably.

這項計劃慘敗。

The purchases perhaps pushed out the stockmarket’s collapse by a few days, but did not prevent it from imploding.

這些購買行為或許將股市的崩盤推后了幾天,但并未阻止股市崩盤。

The Dow Jones Industrial Average index of stocks fell by around 35% between early September 1929 and the end of the year.

從1929年9月初到年底,道瓊斯工業股票平均價格指數下跌了約35%。

By its nadir in 1932, it was almost 90% lower.

到1932年的最低點時,幾乎下跌了90%。

Historians are divided over why one intervention worked but not the other.

對于為什么一種干預有效而另一種無效,歷史學家意見不一。

Perhaps the panic in 1929 was too far gone for private purchases to make a difference, for instance.

比如一種意見是,也許1929年的恐慌太過嚴重,以至私人購買無法起到作用。

Other research suggests that the success of 1907 may have been overplayed, and that it was action by the Bank of France to calm domestic markets that spilled over to America and halted the mayhem.

其他研究表明,1907年的成功可能被夸大了,其實是法國銀行平息國內市場的行動蔓延到了美國,從而停止了混亂。

The debate suggests that identifying SBF’s role in quelling chaos today may be just as hard.

這場辯論表明,確定SBF在平息當前混亂中發揮的作用可能同樣困難。

The trouble could simply continue, for a start.

首先,麻煩可能會繼續下去。

Indeed, on July 5th Voyager filed for bankruptcy.

事實上,Voyager已于7月5日申請破產。

A cynic might point out that SBF might be striking deals with other firms not because he wants to rescue the industry, but because he has spotted an opportunity to snap up some of his competitors’ operations for pennies on the dollar.

憤世嫉俗的人可能會指出,SBF與其他公司達成交易可能不是因為他想拯救這個行業,而是因為他發現了一個機會,讓他能夠以極低的價格搶占競爭對手的一些業務。

Some of these attempts may not succeed—Voyager owed Alameda $75m when it went under—but others could.

其中一些嘗試可能不會成功--Voyager在破產時欠Alameda7500萬美元--但另一些可以。

On July 1st Zac Prince, BlockFi’s chief executive, said that its credit line from FTX had been increased to $400m, and included an option to acquire BlockFi for up to $240m.

7月1日,BlockFi首席執行官扎克·普林斯表示,該公司從FTX獲得的信貸額度已增至4億美元,還包括以高達2.4億美元的價格收購BlockFi的選擇權。

That looks like a bargain compared with the valuation of $5bn that BlockFi was reportedly seeking during a fundraising round last year.

與報道中BlockFi在去年一輪融資中尋求的50億美元估值相比,這似乎是一筆劃算的交易。

Even if SBF is not attempting to save crypto, though, history remains relevant.

然而,即使SBF沒有試圖拯救加密行業,歷史仍然是相關的。

The panic of 1907 was a proximate reason for the creation of the Federal Reserve and the beginnings of the progressive taxation of income in America, as well as an expansion of antitrust law.

1907年的恐慌是美聯儲成立、美國開始實行累進所得稅制以及擴大反壟斷法范圍的直接原因。

Instead of being hailed as a hero, Morgan senior became the focal point for concerns that power was too concentrated in the hands of a small number of financiers.

老摩根非但沒有被譽為英雄,反而成為了人們關注的焦點,因為人們擔心權力過于集中在少數金融家手中。

Now, too, there is a possibility that a crash leads to more stringent oversight, particularly if the volatility in digital assets spills over to other markets, galvanising regulators.

現在,崩盤也有可能導致更嚴格的監管,尤其是如果數字資產的波動波及其他市場,從而刺激監管機構的話更有可能。

Boosters may see a J.P. Morgan in Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX.

支持者可能會在山姆·班克曼-弗里德和FTX中看到約翰·皮爾龐特·摩根的影子。

They might come to regret needing one.

他們可能會對于需要這樣的影子而感到遺憾。

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