Wells Fargo Investment Institute, the research division of Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management, has released a report highlighting the potential of cryptocurrencies as an investment opportunity akin to the early days of the internet.
In a Monday report titled, "Cryptocurrencies — Too early or too late?" the banking giant referred to cryptocurrencies as “viable investments,” but hinted there was no rush for investors to enter the still maturing market. Wells Fargo’s global investment strategy team said it did not subscribe to the idea that it was “too late to invest” in crypto, given that the space is “relatively young” in terms of other asset classes.
According to the banking giant, the technology behind crypto is following an adoption path similar to that of the internet in the early-to-mid 1990s, when “consumers still needed time to figure out what the technology is, what it can do and how it can benefit them.” However, like the internet, the rising number of crypto users suggests “the world is beginning to embrace the technology — and quickly.” According to a Crypto.com study from July, the number of global crypto users more than doubled from 100 million in January 2021 to 221 million in June.
“If this trend continues, cryptocurrencies could soon exit the early adoption phase and enter an inflection point of hyper-adoption, similar to other technologies,” said the report. “There is a point where adoption rates begin to rise and do not look back [...] Precise numbers aside, there is no doubt that global cryptocurrency adoption is rising, and could soon hit a hyper-inflection point.”
The report added that the removal of regulatory roadblocks was also necessary for greater adoption, noting the environment was slowly changing to “solidify cryptocurrencies as investment assets." The Wells Fargo team advised potential crypto users to be patient and use private placements for investments, as the types of vehicles currency available “are a bit behind and still maturing.” However, “higher-quality investment options” could soon arise if regulatory hurdles are cleared.
“There is no need to rush, as most of the opportunity lies before us, not behind us [...] We are hopeful that regulators may soon approve mutual funds and ETFs backed by the digital assets themselves — maybe as soon as 2022.”
Related: Recommending regulations: Crypto working groups make push for adoption
As of October 2021, the Wells Fargo Investment Institute offered guidance and advice on more than $2.1 trillion in assets. The firm announced last year it planned to onboard qualified investors to its crypto investment platform.