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Big Banks Double Down On Crypto Ambitions

BTC

When nearly a quarter of all banks and hedge funds are eager to get into cryptocurrency trading, reality sets in: Crypto is ‘real’ if there are enough believers—like anything else in life.

And according to a recent survey conducted by Thomson Reuters, 20 percent of financial firms are already considering jumping on the crypto trading band wagon within the next three to 12 months.

Despite the lack of crypto clarity, demand rules the day, and one in five banks and hedge funds—including the biggest of the big—are interested. Some 70 percent were more than interested: They’re planning to start trade within three to six months.

"Cryptocurrency is still a relatively small part of the trading market, but this survey indicates this niche segment is starting to enter the mainstream of the financial services industry," Neill Penney, co-head of Trading at Thomson Reuters, said in a press release. "This is a major change from a year ago."

It's news that Bitcoin loves, of course.

Yesterday, bitcoin soared to its highest point in months, just before falling back down into the $9100 range.

(Click to enlarge)

Source: CoinDesk

Not only is the latest survey showing a more mainstream interest in cryptocurrencies, but one of Wall Street’s biggest shows—the annual Sohn Investment Conference—has for the first time in history recommended Bitcoin as an investment. Related: Crypto Stocks Poised To Bounce Back

London-based Pfeffer Capital partner John Pfeffer has gone as far as to put a $700,000 price tag on Bitcoin. He didn’t say by when, of course, so it’s just a massive number thrown to the wind.

And it follows another uber-optimistic prediction earlier this month from Tim Draper, an influential venture capitalist, who called it at $250,000 by 2022, according to Forbes.

In the meantime, further bolstering Bitcoin beyond the Thomson Reuters survey, Goldman Sachs announced earlier this week that it had hired crypto trader Justin Schmidt to head up digital asset markets for its securities division, according to Tearsheet.

And both Goldman and Barclays have said they plan to get in on cryptocurrency trading.

Earlier this week, reports also emerged that Circle—a peer-to-peer payments tech company funded by Goldman Sachs—doubled the size of its minimum cryptocurrency trade requirements, citing a “robust” market.

The good news for crypto doesn’t stop there. On Wednesday, the CEO of NASDAQ said he was open to becoming a cryptocurrency exchange once regulations are clarified and the space “matures”. Until then, it’s fine with supporting the existing crypto exchanges, announced a new technology deal Wednesday with Gemini, founded by the Winklevoss twins. Related: The War For "White Petroleum"

The deal gives Gemini access to NASDAQ’s surveillance tech to support a fair, rules-based marketplace.

It’s been a horrible quarter for crypto, which lost 43 percent in three months, with some earlier calling the bottom with April’s tax season. Indeed, the rebound has been timed to fit that theory, but there’s a lot of influential money talking crypto now and the snowball effect suggests we’re getting into true value territory sooner than we think.

Now we’re treading in increasingly visible bull territory, even if the bull hasn’t fully matured. Everyone now seems to know that it will and the early bird … gets the digital worm.

By Michael Kern for Safehaven.com

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