Cryptocurrencies have surged so much that their total value has reached nearly $2.5 trillion, rivaling the world’s most valuable company, Apple, and have amassed more than 200 million users. At that size, it’s simply too big for the financial establishment to ignore.
Firms that cater to the world’s wealthiest families are increasingly putting some of their fortunes into crypto. Hedge funds are trading Bitcoin, which has big-name banks starting to offer them services around it. PayPal lets users buy crypto on its app, while Twitter helps people show appreciation for tweets by tipping their creators with Bitcoin.
And in the latest milestone for the industry, an easy-to-trade fund tied to Bitcoin began trading on Tuesday. Investors can buy the exchange traded fund from ProShares through an old-school brokerage account, without having to learn what a hot or cold wallet is.
It’s all part of a movement across big businesses that see a chance to profit on the fervor around the world of crypto, as a new ecosystem further builds up around it, whether they believe in it or not.
“The one thing you can say for certain is that the advent of the era of the Bitcoin ETF opens up the opportunity for Wall Street to make money on Bitcoin in a way that it hadn’t been able to previously,” said Ben Johnson, director of global ETF research at Morningstar. “The winners in all of this are the exchanges and the asset managers and the custodians. Whether investors win or not is a big, bold question mark.”
Bitcoin has come a long way since someone or a group of someones under the name Satoshi Nakamoto wrote a paper in 2008 about how to harness computing power around the world to create a digital currency that can’t be doublespent. The price has more than doubled this year alone to roughly $66,000. It was at only $635 five years ago.
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