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Breakingviews – Crypto disruptors want a hug from Wall St

November 28
10:14 2018

“Do you have a state ID?” That’s the first question you hear when picking up credentials to enter Consensus: Invest, a cryptocurrency conference where the sector’s libertarian, anti-establishment ethos used to reign. After an 80 percent collapse in the price of bitcoin over the past year, digital currency enthusiasts are rethinking old assumptions and looking for support wherever they can find it.

Jeffrey Sprecher is a good example. The chief executive of NYSE owner Intercontinental Exchange kicked off the event on Tuesday by touting the company’s planned January launch of a bitcoin futures trading platform called Bakkt. Having a regulated exchange provide a futures contract with institutional-grade custody arrangements could attract mainstream investors and perhaps tame some of the wild volatility of cryptocurrencies.

NYSE is about as establishment as it gets, which is sort of the point. Sprecher proudly extolled ICE’s anti-money laundering and tax reporting capabilities, saying they would bring useful light into a sector with much obscurity. Powerful miners and coin holders can suddenly trigger actions like last month’s fork of bitcoin cash into two rival currencies. “The decisions are being made by influential, rich oligarchs,” he said.

Fidelity Investments is another old-world name getting in on the act, via the provision of custody services for endowments and other institutions wishing to own cryptocurrencies, tentatively due to be launched next year.

Continue Reading at Reuters

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