It was dramatically telling: A New York Times story reported that the venerable New York Stock Exchange has plans to allow large investors to buy and hold Bitcoin. Oh, and the revelation came hard on the heels of another — that the equally august Goldman Sachs intends to open its own Bitcoin trading unit.
We were so tickled we issued a press release offering one of our premium subscriptions to NYSE member companies for free. If they’re going to trade bitcoin, they damn well better understand it.
We did not, however, register surprise. The reason is that we’ve been immersed in the bitcoin-blockchain revolution — at conferences, one-on-one interviews, and through the many stories we publish.
At the the grassroots, we’ve long witnessed the inexorable march of bitcoin-blockchain tech to legitimacy, carried on the shoulders the smartest – and honest – people around.
Sure, there are charlatans. Yes, there are frauds. Are you shocked? What about the fools and sundry despicables that emerged during the dot-com boom?
Now as then, the bad apples are outnumbered by those who see all the many applications they can build on the blockchain, as they fuel their fires of innovation through novel ICOs and tokens.
We can tell you about Kendrick Nguyen, the CEO of the new crowdfunding platform Republic who walks his talk – and passion – for extending investment opportunities to “everyday people” not just “accredited investors,” who have enjoyed a lock on startup investment for eight decades now.
So if it’s not legit, why is it attracting the best brains in the world?
How about Michael Casey, former Wall Street Journal reporter turned author and MIT Media Labs fellow who has amazingly clear eyesight into the most profound implications of cryptocurrency?
We could go on and on.
They’re why we’re bullish. Sober but bullish. What’s more, history is on our side. As we noted in our release “bitcoin recalls the early days of the stock market.” Not even after the crash and Great Depression was that baby thrown out with the bathwater. Instead, it presented the likes of Charles Dow with a clear market need he met by founding the enduring The Wall Street Journal.
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Take “The Big Board” itself. The NYSE can trace its roots to 1792. Back then, the horse-and-buggy boys had their doubts about its longevity, no doubt. Yet, through ups and downs, panics, and crashes, it endures. Not only that it continues to thrive. On March 16, the exchange hit a high water mark when it recorded a single-day trading volume of $119 billion.
Now you know why an endorsement from The Big Board is such big news.
The skeptics, critics, and haters won’t go away, not anytime soon. None other than Warren Buffett – the beloved Oracle of Omaha – recently called bitcoin “rat poison squared,” while Bill Gates, once, ahem, the world’s majordomo of innovation and disruption, endorsed his bridge buddy’s assessment.
Wrong Side of History
We’re confident, however, they will be discredited as was former Digital Equipment CEO Ken Olsen when he said, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Or when Robert Metcalf, the founder of 3 Com, predicted the Internet will “catastrophically collapse.”
Or when former Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer said the Apple iPhone “will never get any significant market share.”
Warren, Bill, Jamie Dimon et al, get your head out of the sand. We know the blockchain could have widespread disintermediating effects on the entire finance industry. Entrenched financial institutions, for sure, will start mounting a rear-guard action. Watch what happens in the run-up to regulation.
As a result, what we’re witnessing will have fits and starts. However, this is a technology tornado, and it won’t be stopped. Your blithe dismissals are just spitting into the strong winds of change.