The United States is barreling toward a date that could have historic consequences for global markets, running the risk of its first-ever debt default. It’s a potential black swan event that could have an outsized impact on Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the rest of the crypto market.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned weeks ago that the government would soon run out of funds if the debt ceiling isn’t suspended or raised—possibly as early as June 1. If lawmakers remain deadlocked and can’t come to an agreement on spending, Washington won’t be able to pay its bills, she said.

Similar standoffs over the debt ceiling have rattled markets in the past, like a prolonged disagreement over the debt ceiling that sent the S&P 500 tumbling 16% in 2011, startling investors before a resolution was reached.

This time around, Wall Street has yawned. The S&P 500 is down less than 1% since Yellen issued her sobering remarks on May 1. However, Bitcoin has fallen more than 7% and Ethereum is down nearly 3% during the same period, according to CoinGecko.

America’s “X-date”

Typically, debt ceiling debacles create more noise than market-moving news, Amberdata’s Director of Derivatives Greg Magadini told Decrypt—but he acknowledged that a U.S. debt default is far from off the table.

“It feels like a pretty intense game of chicken right now,” he said. “And given how crazy things have gone in the past couple of years, I think anything is possible.”

In the event that the government defaults on its debts, risk assets like stocks and crypto would face short-term pain, Magadini…


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