By Greg Wilson, analyst, Palm Beach Daily
“It was a lightning-quick trip from internet poster boy to internet piñata.”
That’s what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in 2002.
At the time, the high-flying internet stock from the late 1990s was in the doldrums.
From its split-adjusted peak of $113 per share in late 1999, AMZN went on to fall 86% in 2000… and then another 30% in 2001.
At its worst, Amazon investors were down over 95%. And this wasn’t Amazon’s only problem.
High-profile execs were leaving. In a few short months, Amazon lost its CFO, the head of U.S. retail (its largest division), and the head of Amazon Europe.
At the same time, the media were comparing Amazon to Enron. Analysts worried the company couldn’t find demand beyond books, video, and music.
And this situation is eerily similar to the bitcoin market today…
Bitcoin remains below its peak price. Folks are asking where the next wave of buying will come from. And the media is still asking if bitcoin is dead.
So today, I’ll show you why – like Amazon in 2002 – bitcoin is set to soar and hit new highs in 2020…
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Laying the Groundwork
If you’ve been following the Daily recently, then you know there are two drivers aligning perfectly that’ll propel crypto prices to new highs…
The first is a dramatic drop in incoming bitcoin supply caused by the halving event. As you may recall, the halving is when the bitcoin reward drops by 50%. The first was in 2012, and the second was in 2016. The third will occur in May 2020.
The second driver is what I’m really excited about: the surge in brand-new, massive demand for bitcoin and crypto assets.
Institutional money is about to enter crypto assets in a big way. That’s because all the pieces needed for it to enter are finally in place – things like custody and advanced financial products.
While that may seem boring, it’s the necessary groundwork for institutions to enter the space.
One important piece is custody. By law, asset managers have a fiduciary responsibility to safeguard their clients’ assets.
So advisers who wanted to get in, but lacked a custody solution, had to stay on the sidelines.
Today, that’s not a problem. There’s a slew of regulatory-compliant custody services: Coinbase Custody, Fidelity Digital Assets (FDAS), Bakkt Warehouse, and more.
Here’s what Bitwise Asset Management, a leading provider of index and cryptoasset funds, recently concluded:
There is now a sufficiently large number of well-established and regulated firms offering custody of a wide variety of cryptoassets that an institutional investor today could assemble a diversified portfolio of cryptoassets, without being materially limited, using only regulated custodians.
And it’s just the beginning, as even larger players start to enter the space.
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Take State Street, for example. It’s the Wall Street custodian with $32 trillion in assets under custody and administration and nearly $3 trillion in assets under management. And it just partnered with crypto custodian Gemini Trust.
Like the rest of Wall Street, it wants in on the crypto market.
Advanced financial products, such as futures and options, are another key piece to laying the groundwork.
Growing use of these products is a sign of maturity and institutional involvement in the market. And according to Bloomberg, these products represent the migration towards mainstream.
The first bitcoin futures came at the end of 2017, when Cboe Global Markets started offering trading.
It finished the first week with an average daily volume of roughly $70 million. That didn’t impress market participants. And many said Cboe’s bitcoin futures failed to live up to the hype.
Despite this slow start, new products continued to enter the market. Shortly after Cboe, CME Group launched its own bitcoin futures products.
They were followed by Bakkt – the institutional crypto platform owned by the Intercontinental Exchange. It runs 23 exchanges around the world, including the New York Stock Exchange.
And more recently, ErisX launched its bitcoin futures. It’s creating an institutional crypto exchange much like Bakkt’s. And it’s backed by TD Ameritrade.
So today, there’s well over a dozen providers of bitcoin futures. And guess what? Volumes have exploded.
In the first week of January 2020, the aggregate daily volume of bitcoin futures topped $20 billion. That’s 285x greater than when bitcoin futures first launched.
And this is just the beginning.
Wall Street is stampeding towards the crypto markets with a range of new products…
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Wall Street Wants to Sell Crypto Products
Futures are just the start. In December 2019, Bakkt launched the first regulated bitcoin options contracts in the U.S.
That was quickly followed by an announcement from crypto exchange, OKEx. It plans to launch bitcoin options by the end of the month.
And CME is getting in the game, too. It plans to launch bitcoin options before the end of the first quarter of 2020.
Wall Street is exploring other products as well.
For example, WisdomTree Investments – which has $60 billion in client assets – is creating a bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP) to list on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
An ETP is similar to an exchange-traded fund (ETF). And it makes it a whole lot easier for clients to invest in digital assets.
Similarly, Canadian investment fund manager 3iQ Corp got the green light from the Ontario Securities Commission to list a closed-end bitcoin fund on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The fund launched last month. And it’s added a global crypto fund as well.
Overall, we expect to see a proliferation of Wall Street crypto products come to market in 2020.
And that new demand is going to push bitcoin past its old highs…
The Time Is Now
With the hindsight of nearly two decades, you can see how great an investment Amazon was in 2002.
And bitcoin and cryptos face a similar situation today. Prices remain below their all-time highs. Many are doubtful about the future.
But as I just showed you, Wall Street is ramping up its involvement. That’s going to bring in fresh demand in 2020. And it’ll push crypto markets to new all-time highs before the year is out.
Now, the easiest way to play this is by simply buying some bitcoin. Since January 1, it’s up over 21% – making it one of the best-performing assets so far in the new year.
Just remember, crypto is very volatile. You don’t need to invest a lot to make life-changing gains.