Not only the eyes of retail traders appear to be glued to the horizon, with crypto executives, venture capitalists, economists, and bootstrapping ICO projects seemingly awaiting any one of this year’s selection of institutional catalysts to drive the cryptocurrency market into a new dimension.
Up there on the pedestal with ICE-owned prospective powerhouse, Bakkt, Fidelity Investments’ deep-dive into crypto has been widely championed as one of the young sector’s potential multi-trillion-dollar bull flags—the Boston-headquartered asset manager being the world’s fourth-largest, with nearly $7 trillion in total AUM.
A Taste of $7 Trillion?
The latest harbinger would be the chief whip of Binance, Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, who has pointed to Fidelity’s deep pockets as being the tip of the institutionally-sized iceberg for crypto.
After dropping a series of hints that it would this year be taking the plunge into crypto, Fidelity Investments hit the headlines with force in October unveiling its new digital asset platform, Fidelity Digital Assets, and promptly signing Galaxy Digital as its first customer.
Doubling down on his comment to Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz that it was “just a matter of time” before institutional sponsorship entered the market, CZ tweeted:
What happens when a fund like Fidelity allocates a mere 5% of their portfolio to crypto? Have you calculated how much that is? https://t.co/ljcZ4SjQnw
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) October 21, 2018
Where he may have been throwing an off-the-cuff remark to naysayers still prophesying a crypto apocalypse, the Chinese-Canadian billionaire then laid out the holdings of Fidelity Investments—seeming to suggest that a minute portion of Fidelity’s portfolio entering the cryptocurrency market would put on a fireworks show.
Right, that little 5% is more than doubling (almost tripple) the entire crypto market cap. And some people are still worried about… pic.twitter.com/EETSyQXjnm
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) October 21, 2018
CZ’s bullish arithmetic didn’t seem to add up for some, however.
In a nod to the accumulation currently taking place on the secondary market, one user suggested that even the amplest` of injections by Fidelity would not increase market capitalization if the investment monolith were to purchase via OTC.
So putting X billion dollars into the market grows the market cap by X billion dollars? Unfortunately that is not how market cap is calculated: it doesn’t reflect how much money has been invested. What if they do a majority of investment OTC? Will it move the market cap at all?
— Thomas Silkjær (@Silkjaer) October 21, 2018
Not Just the Money
Such comments may miss the mark on the deeper implications of Fidelity’s entrance to the fledgling cryptocurrency market, however. As many have highlighted—perhaps most recently CNBC crypto mouthpiece and ‘“Bitcoin Televangelist,” Brian Kelly—Fidelity has more to offer cryptocurrency than its 12-digit bank balance.
Fidelity’s plans to build a crypto custodian service, for one, seems to have sparked a chorus of approval across Wall Street, who would presumably lean heavily on the firm’s 72-year track record storing and securing trillions of dollars in assets.
Or, as Kelly noted:
Custody has been a very big hurdle. And having somebody like Fidelity put their stamp on it and say yes, this is a new asset class and we’re going to custody this – and I believe they even said they may have some insurance. So that is a step closer.
Indeed, it would seem the weight of an industry-ready institutional onramp should not be underestimated. Goldman Sachs’ sponsorship of BitGo, for instance, may have vindicated both the industry-wide call for custodian crypto services and the assertion that Wall Street is chomping at the bit for cryptocurrency.
Cover Photo by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash
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