The world was surprised to hear Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde is to become the President of the European Central Bank (ECB).
She takes helm at a challenging time when Europe is seeing low growth and negative interest rates, a currency war, and more importantly conventional monetary wisdom is challenged by now 11 years of failing to get back to normality.
As much as substance matters, her presence alone could be energizing for Europe. She’s a big figure, well known across the world, and a bit of a fan of this space.
Last year she said cryptos “enable fast and inexpensive financial transactions, while offering some of the convenience of cash.”
A year prior she said cryptos “potentially offer the same cost and convenience as cash—no settlement risks, no clearing delays, no central registration, no intermediary to check accounts and identities.”
And on her first comments regarding this space she said Bitcoin “might give existing currencies a run for their money.”
At ECB she won’t have any jurisdiction over cryptos, but all the world’s financial markets, including this space, will have to listen very carefully to every word she says.
For Lagard will be in charge of all European money. Her power, in some ways, unmatched even by Merkle or Macron.
Within her pen she will have the ability to crash the economy, or make it boom.
The task so great, we can only start off by supporting her for there is plenty of cause for optimism and there has been no action yet to pass judgment on how she will run the euro.
The New Comer
No one knows Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) outside of Germany, the new nominated European President awaiting approval by Parliament.
What strikes at first is that she’s a woman and she’s a blond. The latter may well lead historians to call this period that of the three blonds: Trump, Boris and Ursula if she gets the approval.
Unlike the two men, the woman has very different views on Europe. She wants it to become a federal state “along the lines of the federal states of Switzerland, Germany or the USA.”
That makes this Europe’s answer to both Boris and Trump, with the continent to be transformed into a Great United Europe.
For our space that can have benefits in providing competition to America on regulations, from how cryptos are taxed, to what the rules are on token based capital formation.
This duopoly of real choice might keep each other in check. A co-opting of America’s SEC, for example, might be less effective if there is an EU SEC that takes a different view.
Likewise a Europe wide stock exchange might provide competition to NYSE or other US stock exchanges, with the debate then becoming whether EU or US would greenlight a bitcoin ETF first, rather than all at the mercy of Jay Clayton, the current US SEC chairman.
Both would then be kept in check by neutral Switzerland or atlantic bridging Britain, with this rule of the blonds perhaps bringing peace and maybe even optimism.
A New Dawn For Europe?
While these three blonds appear to differ in their views, what unites them is all three want their nation to be better, faster, stronger, with that nation in the case of Ursula being much of the European continent.
She is mired in all sorts of controversies in Germany, and from what we suspect it may be because she wanted a greater role for the German army.
She is now presumably to work towards a greater role for the European Union, with the continent perhaps to be transformed by the end of her presidency if she does get through Parliament.
A rejection by the latter would probably mean the next president would be voted in by europeans themselves in an “ordinary” continent wide election of who should be president.
Considering it took some time to get to this candidate, there might have to be such election even for the new candidate if Parliament doesn’t give the approval.
Meaning the very boring Tusk and Junker, as well as Draghi, are now to be replaced by two strong women who, whatever their fault, have the quality of gravitas.
That by itself is a significant change for it signals Europe is no longer a background thing of relevance only to bureaucrats, but something that matters to ordinary European citizens.
For a European army is now likely, but the European Parliament might continue to be less relevant until they organize continent wide European parties.