Wall Street Banks Almost Ready to Embrace Bitcoin

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In Brief
  • Some Wall Street investors are exerting pressure on the banking industry to legitimize bitcoin.

  • This comes after bitcoin’s increased adoption among institutional investors.

  • Industry experts say it’s just a matter of time before traditional banks get more involved in crypto.

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In an interview with CNBC, JPMorgan co-president Daniel Pinto signaled that once bitcoin (BTC) is widely used by different asset managers and investors, Wall Street banks will embrace it.



This statement follows a town hall meeting for JPMorgan Chase traders and sales personnel that took place in Jan 2020. At the time, the bank’s head of global markets, Troy Rohrbaugh, responded to a question on whether JPMorgan would get involved in bitcoin.

To answer that, Rohrbaugh addressed his boss Pinto. Pinto said that even though he was absolutely open-minded about bitcoin, he emphasized: “the demand isn’t there yet.”



Institutional Investors Making Waves

In particular, Pinto recalled the experience of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, entering the crypto market via bitcoin futures. Bitcoin would become an eligible investment in two of its inner funds, symbolizing the wider adoption of crypto. 

Pinto noted that regulation of bitcoin trading would be manageable. He also added that if it happened, trades would involve clients and exchanges tested with years of experience.

This week alone, large corporations including Tesla, PayPal, and custody bank BNY Mellon have significantly increased their bitcoin stash. Amidst this growing demand from global leading institutions, it comes as no surprise that famous Wall Street banks feel the pressure to compete. 

More Bitcoin Investment Is Expected

As usual, banks face the most intense regulatory scrutiny and are quite reluctant to enter the crypto space. However, even if one of the six major US banks decides to come and play, it would likely be a major stamp of legitimacy for bitcoin.

Apart from JPMorgan traders, there are other prominent bank representatives expressing interest in crypto. Last week, Goldman Sachs hosted a private forum with Mike Novogratz, who runs crypto firm Galaxy Digital.

He shared ideas about bitcoin and other digital assets during the virtual meeting with the bank’s employees and clients and highlighted the macroeconomic backdrop.

Earlier, co-president of Galaxy Digital Damien Vanderwilt warned that at some point the volume of client inquiry and demand “will break the camel’s back” for the large banks.

“Banks eventually get strong-armed into developing these products by their clients.”

Vanderwilt also hinted at potential collaborations with traditional banks by saying:

“It’s possible Galaxy could help Goldman and other banks facing the same challenges; we’re uniquely positioned to do that, as the nexus for financial services in the digital asset sector.”

Meanwhile, the price of bitcoin keeps rising. On Feb 11, it briefly managed to surpass the $48,000 level. Currently, it is trading over $47,800 per coin.

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Amy was born in Malmo, Sweden. She became interested in cryptocurrency due to her husband, who was an early investor in bitcoin. Now, Amy writes for a number of crypto outlets, invests in cryptocurrencies, and spends time with her cat Buterin.

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