Just a few years ago, the mainstream public viewed Bitcoin as some obscure medium of exchange used on the black market to illegally purchase goods and launder money. However, last year has seen the currency, and the industry as a whole, step into the spotlight in a big way.
Bitcoin investing is still seen as risky business
Bitcoin was the second-most-searched term for 2017,18,19, unsurprising has it increased in value by over 1,700% in less than all months. Its market cap is in the billions, and it is well on its way to mainstream adoption through futures trading launched by CME and CBOE, with Nasdaq following suit later this year.
However, the world’s most popular virtual currency is still prone to bouts of volatility, clearly seen in December last year. It plummeted from highs of nearly $20k on some exchanges, to as low as just under $8k.
Even though well-established financial institutions like those mentioned above have plans to capitalize on Bitcoin, others are not convinced of its investor appeal.
One theory is that more people would invest if Bitcoin had some type of insurance backing it. This is the viewpoint of billionaire businessman, Tilman Fertitta:
“They don’t have the money. It’s just paper. That’s all Bitcoin is, is paper, but it’s not insured by the FDIC today, and until it’s insured, a lot of people are never going to buy it.”
However, even with his somewhat cautionary comments, Fertitta is not opposed to the super crypto. He added:
“I mean, I remember somebody walking into my office and saying, ‘the world’s going to change. There’s this thing called the Internet,’ and that wasn’t that long ago. So, we have to remember this: it’s just something new and everything moves at a quicker pace today.”
He even added that he might consider allowing Bitcoin to be used as a payment method in some of his businesses.
Goldman Sachs, who have previously voiced their concern over Bitcoin, will also be embracing the industry this year by offering crypto trading initiatives. Even so, other big names in the finance world are not as eager to be a part of the decentralized digital currency revolution.
Wolfgang Koester, who is head of currency and forex technology at FiREapps, has said that big corporations are interested in digital currencies, but not the speculation that comes along with it:
“They are saying we can’t get involved with Bitcoin, but we like the idea of Bitcoin and others. We like speedy transactions at a lower cost. They are waiting for governments to issue those digital currencies so that they can take advantage.”
The development of these state-controlled cryptocurrencies seems set to increase this year, with countries such as Russia, Israel and Estonia set to create their own digital currencies.