Jul 012017
 
BIJAN SHAHROKHI JUNE 18, 2017 2:33 PM   With the recent surge in value of cryptocurrencies, ordinary people and traditional investment firms are paying more attention to the space. The market cap of cryptocurrencies has grown from less than $30 billion in March 2017 to over $110 billion in June 2017, and this is just the beginning. Cryptocurrencies are quickly becoming a new global market for assets, similar to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and government backed-currencies.   But the immediate settlement of currency transfer on blockchains (such as Bitcoin and Etherium) is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s incredibly efficient at money movement; on the other, it allows bad players to transfer your cryotcurrency with the same speed. And if the wrong person gets unauthorized access to your cryptocurrency holdings and transfers the currencies to their own wallet, there will be no getting it back.   As a result, among new investors in the space, there is a concern about giving money to new, unproven, and non-regulated online-only cryptocurrency wallet providers. And that opens up an opportunity for traditional banks. You already trust them with your life savings, so you will likely trust them with your cryptocurrency holdings.   It would take an enormous investment for banks to move into this space. But here are some reasons they should consider it:   They can address a real pain point for their customers: Cryptocurrency investors are concerned about trusting recently established organizations to hold their assets. Banks are reliable alternatives because people trust them. Banks entering this space will solve a real financial problem for their customers and will deepen and reinforce their relationship.   They will stay relevant: Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might become more popular than government backed currencies one day. The only way for a bank to stay relevant in that future is to secure their relationship with the cryptocurrency holder today. As time goes on, new players will slowly earn a reputation for safety and security and will present a threat to existing financial institutions. Now is the time for banks to secure those relationships while they still have an advantage over existing and entering players.   They will start learning by doing: Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Banks must start learning how these markets operate and discover the right business models for their organizations before fintech companies make them irrelevant. A great way to (more…)