A Goldman Sachs analyst believes Bitcoin is on a path to maturity, and more institutional funds are needed to stabilise the market
Goldman Sachs analyst Jeff Currie believes that Bitcoin (BTC) is on a path to maturity, adding that more institutional money will stabilise the market. The analyst made his views known during an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, adding that Bitcoin’s remarkable run has attracted Wall Street interest.
Currie, Goldman Sachs’ head of commodities research pointed out that despite Bitcoin’s massive growth, more institutional funds are needed to stabilise it. The institutional funds are needed to avoid the type of crash that saw Bitcoin’s price declining by roughly 20% on Monday. BTC price dropped to nearly $32,000 after reaching a high above $40,000 last week. However, it is recovering and currently trading close to $38,000.
Currie said, “I think the market is beginning to become more mature. I think in any nascent market, you get that volatility and those risks that are associated with it“. Currie maintains that the key to creating a certain level of stability in the Bitcoin market is to bring about an increase in institutional investors’ participation. Currently, institutional participation in Bitcoin is small. Currie claims that out of the total $600 billion Bitcoin market cap, institutional investors account for roughly 1%.
An increasing number of institutional investors are throwing their weight behind Bitcoin. Famous investors Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller have already ventured into BTC. Furthermore, firms like MicroStrategy, MassMutual and Ruffer Investment Company have all taken up sizeable Bitcoin positions.
Last month, Skybridge Capital launched its Bitcoin fund with $25 million. It is working on increasing its stake in the market over the coming months. Guggenheim is another institutional investor that is also looking to enter the crypto market. The investment firm’s SEC filing shows it wants to invest $500 million in Bitcoin via the GBTC.
Investors increasingly view Bitcoin as a store of value, with the cryptocurrency recording unprecedented growth despite the economic effects of Covid-19. JPMorgan strategists predict a Bitcoin rally to $146,000 in the long-term while Guggenheim’s Chief Investment Officer thinks that the cryptocurrency is worth around $400,000.
Goldman Sachs wasn’t a big fan of Bitcoin initially, but the investment bank has changed its tune in recent years.
Meet The Kraken Bank Executive Team: CEO David Kinitsky
First revealed last September, Kraken is quietly hard at work gearing up to launch Kraken Bank. This exciting new venture is helping to shape the landscape for both Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency services – and the banking industry – well into the future.
While we can’t reveal all the details yet, we sat down with Kraken Bank CEO David Kinitsky to get a glimpse into how he’s leading the charge to ensure the next generation of financial firms are built with the next generation of assets in mind.
David brings more than 15 years of experience in cryptocurrency and financial services. He helped launch a streak of innovations with Grayscale, Fidelity, Circle, SecondMarket, and the private investment funds he’s managed.
He’s full of industry knowledge and always adds a colorful perspective to the conversation. Enjoy!
Hi David! You worked at some of the biggest names in the industry. How did you get into crypto, what were those experiences like?
I first came across Bitcoin when I was working at a company called SecondMarket, which would become Digital Currency Group, one of the largest players in this industry. SecondMarket built marketplaces for illiquid, esoteric, and emerging assets. Eventually we got into Bitcoin and sold the legacy business to NASDAQ.
I took the lead in setting up Grayscale, structuring it’s first and flagship product – the Bitcoin Investment Trust – and served as GM of the business, which I ran for the next couple years. Today, Grayscale is the largest digital asset manager in the world with some $25-30 billion assets under management. (Big shout out to the team over there that took the baton, executed with remarkable consistency, and grew it into the juggernaut it is today.)
I left Grayscale to join Fidelity as their first digital asset hire, helping them to develop their strategy in the crypto space. I also ran a proprietary crypto fund there as a co-portfolio manager alongside the team that now runs Castle Island Ventures, an early stage VC firm focused on crypto.
My next stop was at Circle where I helped to restructure their business, refocus it around their USDC stablecoin, and relaunch with their payments/treasury platform.
Finally, when I saw Kraken pursuing the SPDI bank, I jumped at the opportunity and went all in, moving along with my family to Wyoming where the bank is based. It’s important infrastructure for Bitcoin and crypto, and is also reshaping traditional banking and financial services.
There is a lot of discussion about regulating cryptocurrencies. What do you find fascinating about bitcoin in this respect and how do you look at regulation of the space?
There’s not just a lot of discussion about regulating, there’s real regulating going on already. I sometimes hear this misunderstanding that crypto is not regulated. It’s regulated in the same way we regulate most financial services and other industries – by regulating the services providers and the actions taken by users. Just look at crypto companies and the licensure/registrations they maintain.
We should want to be especially smart about how we regulate these crypto companies as compared to their more traditional counterparts. There’s a key distinction to consider. In traditional financial services – say banking or brokerage or whatever – end users have no other alternative to access these services. They can’t opt out. If you want to send money across space and time, you need a bank or other financial service provider. Crypto is different. Users can receive, hold, and send their own assets themselves. It may be clunky for some, but they can do it. So there is some level of burden above which users will just not use the key nexus through which regulation is enforced. And the first ones to leave are the “bad guys” you want to be able to oversee.
I’ll also say that crypto provides new tools and abilities. For example, financial institutions can incorporate verifiable proof of reserves or to build other auditable assurances into their operations to ensure they’re solvent and doing what they say they are.
I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to thread the needle on the right regulation in the long term, and just hope we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot nearer term.
What about political and public opinion? How is Bitcoin and crypto currently being viewed and how might that affect its status and regulation?
It’s a good question. Absolutely foundational. After all, law and regulation arise out of policy objectives that take into account certain cost-benefit tradeoffs. Historically, we haven’t been able to have these serious conversations about Bitcoin or crypto here in the US because of some absolutist or ill-informed opinions.
The most common is that there’s no use case other than speculation or illicit activity, and no reason to make any accommodations within the existing system. I do think that more recently – especially in this macro environment – there’s an increasing appreciation for the benefits that Bitcoin provides as a store of value and in terms of censorship resistance, as well as an openness to the other opportunities crypto could create in the future. There’s also starting to be some recognition that Bitcoin and crypto will continue to operate regardless, and will simply do so outside of the existing financial system if we don’t pave a path for them within it.
Another is that they’re necessarily adversarial to America somehow, or simply incompatible with our laws, regulation, and institutions. But, Bitcoin is as American as apple pie. Its values are exactly the same as American values – free speech, free association, free enterprise, individual liberty, property rights, and so on – all the principles this country was founded on and the engines for growth throughout our history. And either way, the fact is that Bitcoin exists and other countries are getting involved. It’ll be critical that the U.S. maintain a position in this emerging industry to ensure its global competitiveness and national economic security.
What is it about Kraken Bank that makes this a venture worth building?
I do actually think that this initiative has some symbiotic elements to it, but – and maybe it’s gauche to say these days – we’re building Kraken Bank because it achieves some very clear organizational objectives of ours.
It provides the business with better legal/regulatory positioning, improved infrastructure and resultant customer experience, and more product/market opportunities. More broadly, it supports Kraken’s mission of promoting crypto adoption to enable more financial freedom, by seamlessly connecting crypto all the way down to the bottom of the financial services stack, which is entirely buttressed by banking. It puts us in a position to help shape the future of banking and it incorporates crypto.
Finally, I’m excited to help develop the ecosystem right here in Wyoming. Banks have always played important roles and re-invested within their communities. Kraken will be no different. We’re not carpetbaggers. We want to be connected to communities where, and with which, we conduct business – and to build something special together.
Want to help? Kraken and Kraken Bank are actively hiring, with new jobs posted periodically on the company’s careers page. If you don’t see a role at the bank that’s right for you today, stay tuned for more listings soon!
Thank you David.
-The Kraken Team
Institutional Clients: Get Free Real-Time USD Transfers Through Signature Bank
Institutional clients at Kraken now have a new way to transfer USD that is free, near-instant and available 24/7. The new funding option is available through our integration with the Signet™ payment platform offered by Signature Bank.
- Deposits: $0
- Withdrawals: $0
- Kraken Pro business account
- Account with Signature Bank
- Both accounts must be under the same name
How to get started
Note that you must have an account with Signature Bank, so the process is different depending on whether you already have an account or not. Follow the link below for complete instructions and requirements.
Learn more about Signature’s relationship with Kraken and the Signet platform in the Q&A below with Signature CEO Joseph DePaolo.
Can you talk about your relationship with Kraken?
We are thrilled to have been working with Kraken for almost three years. Kraken continues to showcase thought leadership and technological innovation in the digital space, which are the critical qualities we look for in a partner. Kraken not only has top security protocols in place for their clients, but also the platform has seen extreme growth recently. I am excited to see what the future holds as the exchange connects to our Bank’s Signet platform and API.
Can you give a quick overview of the Signet Platform and how it leverages blockchain tech?
Signet is the first proprietary, blockchain-based, digital payments platform that can be integrated directly into client’s businesses and technology systems. Signature Bank launched Signet on January 1, 2019, to enable its commercial clients to make instant and free payments in U.S. dollars.
Through Signet’s design and features, Signature Bank clients have used Signet’s API to merge their proprietary systems with the Signet platform for full transactional capabilities. These API enhancements allow clients to continue to leverage Signet’s real-time, 24/7/365 benefits and transactions safety and securely.
Signet’s blockchain technology is largely influenced by Ethereum’s code and allows for the minting of signets, which are tokenized representations of USDs, to instantly send and settle payments between clients. However, rather than operating a public ledger where anyone has access to the transaction history, Signet is a private, closed loop blockchain for use by Signature Bank clients only.
Why did you start a niche for small businesses? What is missing among the “big banks”?
Signature Bank was founded 20 years ago with a mission to provide excellent client service and care to small- and mid-sized businesses, values that we share closely with Kraken. Our private client banking teams serve as a single point of contact to meet all clients’ banking needs – unique when compared to mega-banks where clients are typically parsed out to different departments. This single-point-of-contact approach has become the hallmark of the Signature Bank franchise.
As the Bank grew and diversified, it appointed a Digital Assets private client banking team in January 2018 to serve the rapidly evolving digital asset community.
Kraken is proud to offer our institutional clients this fast and convenient new funding option. For more information and instructions on how you can enable Signet for your account, visit our support page here.
Bill Gates explains why he associates Bitcoin with tax avoidance and illegal activity
Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he doesn’t hold Bitcoin, nor is he short against it. Instead, Gates claims he holds a neutral position as far as the leading cryptocurrency is concerned.
However, his follow-on comments contradict his opening statement. While he’s all for the digitization of money, he believes Bitcoin encourages tax avoidance and illegal activity. Instead, Gates prefers the central bank digital currency approach to digital money, with reversible transactions and direct identity association.
“I don’t own Bitcoin. I’m not short Bitcoin. So I’ve taken a neutral view. I do think moving money into a more digital form and getting transaction costs down, that something the Gates Foundation does in developing countries.
But there we do it so you can reverse the transaction, you have total visibility of who’s doing what, so it’s not about tax avoidance or illegal activity.”
Gates pivots towards charity work
Since leaving his position as Microsoft’s chief software architect in 2000, Gates has increasingly focused on charity work via the Gates Foundation.
In 2020, he decided to dedicate more time to this cause and cut ties with Microsoft by resigning from its board. However, he mentioned that he’s always available in a consultation capacity.
“dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change.”
Bitcoin community chimes in on Gates’ comments
Throughout this transition, Gates has become less known as a tech innovator and more as a philanthropist. Bitcoin-bull Anthony Pompliano implied this had dulled his understanding of disruptive technology.
“It is wild to hear one of the smartest men in the world sound so uninformed and uneducated on one of the most disruptive pieces of technology.“
Equally, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tried to pass off Gates’ ill-informed comments by saying he’s earned the right not to be “bleeding edge” any longer.
“He’s at a different stage in life though. He is not on the bleeding edge, leading, push, etc. He doesn’t have to.”
Growth lead at Kraken exchange Dan Held said there’s some merit to Gates’ comments on high fees and excessive energy consumption. But overall, Held believes that Gates hasn’t taken the time to understand Bitcoin.
As a former board member of Berkshire Hathaway and close friend of Warren Buffett, Gates’ position on Bitcoin should surprise no-one.
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