Investors Still Wary of Bitcoin
Setting aside a massive December price correction, Bitcoin has pushed its way into the minds of ordinary people all over the world.
Google stats for 2017 have Bitcoin as the second most searched news term of the year, as everyone from plucky investors, cryptocurrency newbies and diehard technologists look for the latest news and price updates on the lucrative cryptocurrency.
With a market capitalization of over $11 bln, Bitcoin has made many a millionaire with its rapid appreciation in value this year. Investors flocked to buy Bitcoin during its most recent bull run which started in November which saw the price skyrocket to an eventual high of $20,000.
The almost inevitable correction in the lead up to Christmas sent jitters through the market and many investors will have lamented the dramatic drop in price.
It's not surprising to hear financial analysts and industry experts describe an apathy towards the market due to the volatility seen in recent weeks. Both big businesses and individual investors still seem wary of putting their money into cryptocurrencies.
Speaking to CNBC this week, American billionaire Tilman Fertitta, who made his fortune as a restauranteur, believes the average man won’t go near Bitcoin until they have some sort of insurance.
"They don't have the money. It's just paper. That's all Bitcoin is, is paper, but it's not insured by the FDIC today. And until it's insured, a lot of people are never going to buy it.”
Nevertheless, the 60-year-old isn’t opposed to the idea of Bitcoin becoming a widely accepted payment method in the future, even by some of his businesses, ranging from casinos, hotels to restaurants.
"I mean, I remember somebody walking into my office and saying, 'The world's going to change. There's this thing called the Internet.' And that wasn't that long ago. So we have to remember this. It's just something new and everything moves at a quicker pace today."
Larger financial institutions have already entered the cryptocurrency fray after the launch of Bitcoin futures contracts on CBOE and CME trading exchanges. The NASDAQ and Goldman Sachs are also set to jump onboard in 2018 - paving the way for wider mainstream adoption.
Nevertheless there still seems to be a reluctance for bigger corporate players to invest some serious capital into the market.
In an interview with CNBC this week, head of currency and forex technology company FiREapps Wolfgang Koester said big companies want a less speculative environment,
FiREapps provide insights into the likes of Google and Ericsson, but Koester says big companies will not invest in current cryptocurrencies and are waiting for state-issued digital currencies, backed by regulation.
"They are saying we can't get involved with Bitcoin, but we like the idea of Bitcoin and others. We like speedy transactions at a lower cost. They are waiting for governments to issue those digital currencies so that they can take advantage.”