BitGo CEO, Mike Belshe, recently sat down with CNBC’s Fast Money panel to discuss crypto’s complex relationship with established Wall Street firms. The discussion also covered the importance of custodianship for institutions and helped to clarify the future state of bitcoin adoption by intuitions.
Despite the recent market downfall that affected most cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Mike Belshe believes that the interest in this critical currency will only keep growing. While cryptocurrencies appear like an abstract form of investment for many individual consumers, institutions are starting to show an increased appetite for virtual currencies than many people may suggest. It is anticipated that cryptocurrency ownership could double in future, especially as the infrastructure continues to be developed and the volatility risk goes down.
— CNBC's Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) September 13, 2018
Importance of Having Certified Custodians
Most crypto experts argue that the current lack of adequate custody services creates a severe obstacle to the extensive institutional investment into the digital currency sector.
Much of bitcoin’s security along with other cryptocurrencies lies with the company or individual storing the private key or manages the vault. While the blockchain itself cannot be hacked, however, it still comes down to the person who holds the private keys. Mike believes that this lack of having certified custodianship has stopped many institutions like pension funds from venturing into these uncharted waters of cryptocurrencies.
CNBC’s Melissa Lee also asked the BitGo CEO about what sorts of clients his platform was looking to provide custodianship services. Mike answered that the need for certified custody services varies from one company to the next. He added that their BitGo platform was ready to serve anywhere from hedge funds and wealth management firms to home offices.
The reality is that if such services were offered two years ago, then the institutional adoption of bitcoin would be much further along than it is currently.
Cold Storage Limitations for Bitcoin Custody
Brian Kelly, one of the traders on the show, asked Mike about one of the problems with bitcoin custodianship where it takes longer to get the assets out of cold storage. He mentioned that long wait time was impractical for traders and asked whether BitGo would offer different levels of service for traders and also those who are holding their coins for the long term.
Mike replied that BitGo has a distinguished history of serving numerous wallets and crypto exchanges, offering both cold and hot storage options. He added that it was important that cold storage withdrawals take enough time to process as it means that your coins are stored safely.
CNBC’s Karen Finerman requested confirmation on whether BitGo was only focused on Bitcoin or whether it also included other cryptocurrencies. Mike answered that BitGo was excited about the entire crypto verse and that they currently support over ten different blockchains along with 75 different tokens and coins. Through this BitGo support, most of these coins have experienced steady growth.
Does Bitcoin Need Wall Street?
Melissa Lee discussed how Goldman Sachs and other renowned financial institutions like Morgan Stanley not being very optimistic about bitcoin. Mike reiterated that custody remained as a huge entry barrier for these financial institutions. These organizations are required to have regulated and qualified custodians, along with increased security, AML and KYC as they act as their client’s fiduciaries.
Bitcoin currently needs a lot of fresh capital, and significant financial institutions are one viable source of this capital. The fact that BitGo can offer secure custodianship as a regulated vendor means an optimistic future for institutional bitcoin adoption.