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Press Release | January 18, 2023

Larry Summers Must Answer for Years of Revolving Door Service to Collapsing Crypto Company

CryptocurrencyEthics in GovernmentFinancial RegulationLarry Summers
Larry Summers Must Answer for Years of Revolving Door Service to Collapsing Crypto Company

 Jeff Hauser, [email protected], 202 – 957 – 9719

The media must stop treating Summers as an impartial expert and recognize how he uses his status in the economic media to provide credibility to corporations.

In response to Bloomberg’s report that “Genesis Global Capital is laying the groundwork for a bankruptcy filing as soon as this week,” Revolving Door Project Executive Director Jeff Hauser issued the following statement:

Genesis Global Capital is a key part of the crypto conglomerate Digital Currency Group, or DCG. DCG would not be as large as it is, and Genesis’ collapse wouldn’t affect as many retail investors as it has, if not for former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers’ decision to lend his name and reputation to the firm in 2016.” 

“For years, Summers advised DCG on the one hand, and made widely-reported positive statements about Bitcoin and the crypto industry on the other. Then, as DCG and the broader crypto market began to crumble a few months ago, Summers slipped out the back door, quietly deleting his name from the DCG website. The media shouldn’t let him wipe his hands of the cryptocurrency industry, or treat his speculation on future economic trends the same as they would someone who didn’t spend years opening doors for crypto barons.”

The Revolving Door Project wrote last week about Summers’ long history with DCG, and how his early partnership with the firm helped legitimate crypto the public in the mid-2010s. In 2021, for instance, Summers said Bitcoin “is here to stay” and implied it was becoming “systemic in [its] importance,” without disclosing his professional connections to DCG or other crypto firms like the Swiss crypto storage firm Xapo.

“As we saw with FTX and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, revolvers like Summers play a critical role in legitimating the crypto industry, and opening doors in public policy and the media.” It’s imperative that the press informs the public of conflicts of interest when reporting on crypto or any industry. Better yet, the media simply shouldn’t offer a platform to someone playacting as a sage economist offering independent analysis when just a few internet searches expose that that person is part of the same industry they’re analyzing,” Hauser said.

“Recall as well that crypto used to market itself as an ‘inflation hedge’ — Summers’ underscrutinized ties to crypto inform even his pronouncements on fiscal and monetary policy. Our message to producers and editors is clear: Larry Summers’ perspective is not irreplaceable, while his conflicts of interest and poor judgment are undeniable. If you need an expert opinion, please find actually neutral experts to quote.” 


PHOTO CREDIT: “Larry Summers” by Chatham House is licensed under CC – 2.0.

CryptocurrencyEthics in GovernmentFinancial RegulationLarry Summers

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