It has become increasingly difficult for Wall Street to dismiss Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency markets, given the $95 bln market cap of Bitcoin, rapidly rising user bases of cryptocurrencies, and the increasing mainstream adoption of Bitcoin as a robust store of value.
Up until a few months ago, the vast majority of Wall Street analysts, bankers, and investors dismissed Bitcoin, describing it as a bubble, in an identical way the technology sector continued to condemn Amazon since its launch in 1997.
But, as the user base and market cap of Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency market soared, it has become challenging for Wall Street to blindly ignore the market, being fully aware that their failure to adopt Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies may result in the isolation of banks and financial institutions in the long-term from the promising cryptocurrency market.
Many billionaire investors and major financial institutions such as Mike Novogratz, Kyle Bass, and Goldman Sachs have decided to embrace Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market, rather than compete against it. Notably, earlier this month, the market cap of Bitcoin surpassed that of Goldman Sachs, nearing towards the $100 bln mark.
Bitcoin hit a record high of $6,150 on Friday, October 20, after a dismal September in which the cryptocurrency fell to $2,900 a coin on September 15.
Two years ago, the idea of buying the virtual currency even at that price was laughable. After a rapid rise in value in 2013, the cryptocurrency’s value more than halved by mid-2015.
What is it?
A digital currency, used to make payments of any value without fees. It runs on the blockchain, a decentralised ledger kept running by “miners” whose powerful computers crunch transactions and are rewarded in bitcoins
Who invented it?
Satoshi Nakamoto, a secretive internet user, invented bitcoin in 2008 before it went online in 2009. Many attempts to identify Satoshi have been made without conclusive proof
What’s it for?
People see value in money free from government control and the fees banks charge; as well as the blockchain, to verify transactions. Bitcoin has been seen as a tool for private, anonymous transactions, and it’s the payment of choice for drug deals and other illegal purchases
Is it worth anything?
Yes. As of July 2017, there were around 16.5m bitcoins in circulation. In March 2017, the value of a Bitcoin, at $1,268, exceeded that of an ounce of gold ($1,233) for the first time.