A few months ago, USAA Bank, the New York Stock Exchange, Spanish banking conglomerate Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and former Citigroup Inc chief executive Vikram Pandit took stakes in bitcoin consumer services and exchange provider Coinbase, reports WSJ. Moreover, Bitcoin and Wall Street representatives are going to work together at Silicon Valley’s premiere start-up shop, the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, California.
A week ago, the NASDAQ OMX Group announced that bitcoin startup would implement Nasdaq’s X-stream trading technology in the upcoming marketplace. Lars Ottersgård, NASDAQ’s executive vice president of market technology, stated that NASDAQ is going to continue supporting Noble’s efforts to use X-Stream technology and that his company is exploring ways in which blockchains “could be leveraged to reduce risk in markets.”
Well, these facts are enough to show that “corporate America is gradually warming to Bitcoin.” So, Wall Street is particularly interested in the most discussed cryptocurrency and the technology behind it.
“It’s an opportunity for Wall Street to streamline some operations that are pretty antiquated,” states Duncan Niederauer, the former chief executive of the NYSE Euronext, who this week became an adviser to TeraExchange, the first Commodities Futures Trading Commission-regulated bitcoin derivatives platform.
“The price of handling bits [of data]has come down by a factor of 10,000 fold over the last generation; it’s high time that the costs of payments processing fall by a factor of even two,” says former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers. “Bitcoin offers the prospect of necessary and important disruption in finance for the benefit of buyers and sellers rather than financiers and middlemen.”
It’s also worth noting that important figures from Wall Street and Washington keep accepting job offers in the digital-currency sector. For example, more than two weeks ago, Blythe Masters, the former global head of commodities at JP Morgan, became chief executive officer of Digital Asset Holdings LLC, a bitcoin-related startup which “aims to be a venue for buyers and sellers of financial assets to meet and transact, switching currencies into bitcoin in order to cut the cost and time of settlement and make use of the decentralised ‘block chain’ as a secure record of transactions.” In October, Arthur Levitt, the former Securities and Exchange Commissioner, became an adviser to payment processor Bitpay. In addition to that, in January, digital currency-based payments platform Ripple Labs named former National Economic Council director Gene Sperling as a director, reports WSJ.
“Not only is it not a threat, it’s potentially an opportunity,” says Duncan Niederauer. “If the train’s leaving the station, you’d rather be on it and be the conductor, than a bystander on the platform.”