Bitcoin exploded past the $10,000 price point this past week to much enthusiasm. With the leading cryptocurrency poised for a comeback, Wall Street is taking notice.
Wall Street is split on Bitcoin’s future prospects. With one side pushing for a ‘big short’ scenario, the remaining investment community is caught between indifference and fear of missing out (FOMO). However, there are many indications that the tide is now turning with Bitcoin’s recent price explosion.
Wall Street Interest Grows
There’s much to look forward to if you’re a regular on Wall Street who seeks to get involved in the cryptocurrency space. For one, Bakkt is slated to start testing its first product for Bitcoin futures sometime in late June according to its blog post.
The project is operated by Intercontinental Exchange which owns more than 20 exchanges, market services, and clearinghouses. Then, in the past few days, reports came out indicating investment bank Goldman Sachs planning to release its own cryptocurrency similar to JPMorgan Chase’s own ‘JPM coin.’
The CEO of Goldman Sachs, David Soloman, previously said that it would be “arrogant” to believe cryptocurrencies will definitively fail, but he still expressed skepticism of Bitcoin existing as a “store of value.”
Other large financial firms like Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and JPMorgan already have an established presence in the cryptocurrency world. In short, Wall St. is warming up to the idea that Bitcoin is here to stay.
Not All Good News
However, Wall St. money pouring into Bitcoin may not be as promising as it may seem. Wall St. veteran Caitlin Long believes that Wall St.’s efforts would go towards “taming” the cryptocurrency, leading to negative repercussions. This is because traditional investment firms would simply treat the leading cryptocurrency like any other asset.
Moreover, big financial firms would also decouple Bitcoin ownership from actual wallets. Rather than let their investors trade Bitcoin, they would likely operate via IOUs and hire custodial services. Again, here we have the same problem as with traditional finance: the centralization of control.
Bitcoin could become omnipresent in the Wall St. world, but as a phantom which only trades IOUs and not the actual cryptocurrency. We would then have to rely on private, corporate ledgers to track Bitcoin IOUs being traded, which brings us back to the original problem blockchain promises to solve.
Luckily, many of the emerging cryptocurrency-based financial firms like Bakkt promise to trade actual Bitcoins, not IOUs like all other futures exchanges. LedgerX, which was recently cleared by the CFTC, will be doing the same. So, there are two competing trends in Wall St. right now: those that wish to tame Bitcoin and ‘settle’ its transactions on private ledgers, and those that believe in its actual public blockchain.
The end result will likely be messy. However, the least we can say is that Wall St. is finally taking notice of Bitcoin, yet again — and they’re feeling the FOMO.
Do you believe Bitcoin can be ‘tamed’ by Wall St. or will this effort ultimately fail? Let us know your thoughts below.