Bertie

Meandering writer exploring all things, all things.

What the Whales of Wall Street Aren’t Telling You

When they say one thing, yet do the opposite.

Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

In September 2017, one of the most famous faces in finance accused Bitcoin of being ‘a fraud.’ He threatened employees with the sack if any were found to be trading it.

Bitcoin’s price duly crumbled some 24%.

Fast-forward just a few months, and JP Morgan, run by Chief Executive and ‘Chief Bitcoin Criticizer’ Jamie Dimon — alongside Morgan Stanley — were revealed to be the largest buyers of Bitcoin funds in Europe. Yet, this isn’t strange behavior on Wall Street.

In fact, Dimon has continued his back-and-forth between a position of support and condemnation. And while you might be right to question the ethics behind his words, you could do well to follow his company’s actions.

For therein lies the truth behind mainstream opinion on the blockchain.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Cryptocurrency

The evolution of Bitcoin — or, cryptocurrencies in general — has been volatile. Yet from modest beginnings trading at a paltry $0.003, this much-criticized technology is emerging as a genuine candidate future of money.

Be it supporting existing payment solutions or upending banking, blockchain technology promises radical upheaval.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a host of other cryptocurrencies are making genuine headway in the real world. While over 500 exchanges now list upwards of 2,000 coins, highlighting the potential scope of blockchain applications.

New exchanges pop up by the day, across the world, showcasing the widespread appetite to invest, as leading operators process billions-of-dollars in trades.

Every. Single. Day.

A volume that doesn’t even account for the Whales of Wall Street.

Do As They Do, Not As They Say

Despite what the world of finance is saying, their actions give insight into their true beliefs.

In January of this year, billionaire currency speculator George Soros labeled cryptocurrency a ‘bubble’ telling investors not to buy, and the Bitcoin price dropped by 44%.

Then, three months later, the Soros family office approved in-house cryptocurrency trading, showing just how quickly financiers can have a change of heart.

On February 7th, Goldman Sachs warned ‘most cryptocurrencies will crash to ZERO,’ causing the Bitcoin price to fall by 27%.

Yet, despite the negative outlook, Goldman still invested in Circle: a start-up with crypto-ambitions given its $400 million acquisition of the Poloniex exchange — the perfect counterpart to Goldman’s own trading desk, perchance?

And there’s a significant precedent for similarly supportive actions throughout Wall Street:

  • Billionaire hedge fund manager Stephen Cohen, whose net worth is $14bn, bought into Bitcoin around $6,800
  • Avenue Capital Group CEO Marc Lasry has invested 1% of his $1.7bn personal fortune into Bitcoin around $7,500
  • Even VC firm Andreessen Horowitz — investors in Airbnb, Skype, and notably, Coinbase — have put $300 million into a cryptocurrency fund

However easy it is to cry ‘bubble’ as markets crash; when global institutions known for generating billions in profit start knocking on an asset’s door, it’s time to take note.

Bankers’ words might come cheap — their investments, less so.

Blockchain Is More Than A Speculative Bet

It’s not just financiers tailing the tech: countless industries have turned to decentralized services, hoping to ease the pains that other solutions can’t.

Payments Gateway

Following legalization in Canada, the cannabis industry is on its own growth trajectory. However, marijuana’s Schedule I status makes it hard for banks to work with state-regulated businesses, shrinking the payment options in a multi-billion-dollar sector.

Blockchain platform Alt Thirty-Six solves the issue through its e-payments network, using Dash to process transactions.

The solution offers cannabis retailers a means of scaling via a secure, fast, and low-cost network — one that could ultimately render the entire space ‘cash-free.’

Funding Mechanism

Professional sport is capital-intensive, requiring significant investment to reach the top.

To level the playing field, SportyCo has developed a smart contract-powered crowdfunding platform, offering ambitious athletes and teams an alternate route to the next level with investors earning a return in the event of future sporting success.

Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos are both on board, appreciating what early funding can mean to an aspiring athlete’s prospects.

Lifestyle Enabler

The explosion of cryptocurrencies has created countless millionaires worldwide. Yet, there are few places where such a clientele can put their funds to use.

Elitium is transforming luxury lifestyles through a multi-faceted approach with the proposition including a ground-breaking online ATM. Here, clients can exchange fiat and cryptocurrencies into EUM — Elitium’s native currency — to use within the Elitium Network, before converting funds back into fiat.

The network revolves around its all-inclusive lifestyle app where clients purchase luxury goods and services via a secure, low-cost payments platform. In basing its services on the blockchain, Elitium removes the inefficiencies of the luxury sector, as it has already achieved in yacht rental — using cryptocurrency and smart contracts to reduce service providers’ reliance on paperwork, identity verification, fund transfers, and more.

By adding features such as an AI-powered personal assistant — and combining technologies in a single app-based innovation — Elitium is becoming the ultimate luxury lifestyle-enabler.

The Cusp of a Revolution?

The signals are positive: blockchain technology is finally proving its worth.

Projects are making headway, integrating solutions to overcome deep-rooted problems that, until recently, could not be solved. While financial institutions are positioning themselves to capitalize on the progress — market crashes merely presenting further opportunity to invest.

Finally, one year on from claims of fraud, are we moments away from blockchain’s breakout?

Wall Street seems to think so.

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