While there may be a major Wall Street divide when it comes to Bitcoin, there is no doubting the role that the institutionalized money movers and investors have had in helping drive the price of the digital currency up.
However, as is the nature of the often cautious bankers and investors on Wall Street, they have needed their own push in recent times to get aboard the moon-bound rocket that is Bitcoin. That push has come in the form of all too familiar hedge funds.
Fueling the fire
There have been a number of contributing factors that have seen Bitcoin jump over 600 percent in the year to date, from differing regulations and softening approaches from certain nations to changes in the software and the mainstream hype. However, a lot of the money coming in has come from Wall Street.
Institutionalized investors are looking to hedge funds in order to capitalize on the skyrocketing price. And many of these hedges have come just in the last year, aimed primarily at digital currencies.
The estimate of growth in just digital currency-based hedge funds is that they have gone from about 30 to 130 in this year alone.
There is also general hedge funds that have been buying up cryptocurrencies, most famously that if Bill Miller’s major hedge fund.
Another big step for Bitcoin’s legitimacy with the money-rich investment bankers was when Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced last week that it would launch a Bitcoin futures contract in the next few months.
Large portion of business
Bobby Cho, the head trader at one a large Bitcoin trading businesses, Cumberland, said that after years of hesitancy, institutional investors now accounted for most of his business.
“The vast majority of the trading we do is with institutions,” Cho said. “The education and research have turned into real-life activity.”
Kevin Zhou, a co-founder of the trading firm Galois Capital, said that hedge funds were more likely than small investors to pull out a lot of money at once and that Bitcoin was still small enough that a single fund’s cashing out could cause the price to drop sharply.
“You could get a possible run on the bank if one large investor withdraws and that causes the price to tank,” said Zhou. “That could cause a cascade of withdrawals.”