The current overall market cap for the crypto space is a shadow of what it once was. 2018 has tested the patience and skill of everyone involved. Crypto asset prices are down at least 75% across the board for the most part. But strangely enough, institutions and mainstream entities continue to gain interest and involvement. Logically, all this interest should make the next bull run huge (when the market finally turns around).
Significant Mainstream Interest
The Elusive Bitcoin ETF
The approval of a Bitcoin ETF seems to be the most referenced topic in crypto this year. The Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) appears to be getting closer to a decision on approving a Bitcoin ETF. The SEC has reviewed numerous Bitcoin ETF proposals this year, with no approvals yet.
A possible decision may come in late December for the Van Eck/SolidX ETF, which appears to have the best chance for success.
A Bitcoin ETF would provide a way for institutional (wealthy) players to enter the market and feel that their funds are safe. The market cap all-time high for the cryptocurrency industry has never surpassed $1 trillion, which is not very high, considering global involvement. The crypto space needs more people and money in order to grow. A Bitcoin ETF is a way to increase people’s involvement in crypto, offering an option with regulatory backing (by the SEC).
Ethereum Futures Coming
Everyone in crypto last year remembers the impact Bitcoin futures made on the market, starting last year’s end of year bull run. Money flooded into the crypto space like never before. Bitcoin futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) showed significant mainstream interest in the crypto space and resulted in the legitimization of cryptocurrency (to a degree).
This year, the CBOE plans to launch Ethereum futures, possibly before the end of the year. This shows that institutional interest is still growing and that Bitcoin futures were not simply a failed experiment. People still want to become more involved in crypto, even after a tough year.
Nasdaq Crypto Exchange Interest
Earlier this year in late April, Adena Friedman (Nasdaq CEO) made comments expressing interest in possibly becoming a crypto trading platform.
Nasdaq further states they will likely wait for regulation to be sorted out, and for the crypto space to mature. But the point is – the interest is there from one of the most prominent financial entities. A Nasdaq crypto exchange would make the crypto space even more legitimate.
Crypto Hedge Funds
90 crypto hedge funds have launched so far this year, with another thirty estimated before years end. 600 hedge funds total are projected to launch this year (including traditional markets). If 120 of those 600 are crypto hedge funds, that means crypto would comprise 20% of that.
It makes sense that these hedge funds are only launching as the result of interest in the crypto space. Crypto hedge funds also provide another on-ramp to crypto involvement for traditionally-minded people.
IBM’s Food Blockchain
IBM is another giant in the world of traditional markets. They are currently developing a method to track food using blockchain technology. IBM Food Trust as it’s called, is also collaborating with giants such as Nestle, Walmart, and Kroger.
Mainstream business giants see the potential in blockchain and crypto, and are becoming involved. More involvement leads to greater blockchain solutions to world difficulties (such as food origins and tracking).
ICE and the Bakkt Platform
ICE stands for International Exchange. They plan to launch Bitcoin futures trading in November, on a platform/ecosystem called Bakkt.
The big news is that these Bitcoin futures will be settled in actual Bitcoin, as opposed to the current CME and CBOE options that are cash settled. This would require the actual purchase of Bitcoin, causing more demand for Bitcoin holdings.
Bitcoin only has a total supply of 21 million coins. ICE will need to buy large amounts of Bitcoin for trading on the Bakkt platform. If entities like ICE continue to buy Bitcoin, less supply is available for the general public. Less supply could mean greater demand and higher price for Bitcoin.
Our first contracts will be physically delivered Bitcoin futures contracts versus fiat currencies, including USD, GBP and EUR. For example, buying one USD/BTC futures contract will result in daily delivery of one Bitcoin into the customer’s account.
— Bakkt (@Bakkt) September 25, 2018
Ripple, xRapid, And The Banks
Ripple/XRP is a touchy subject in the crypto space. Some people like it, and some see its centralization as a problem that goes against one of cryptocurrencies best qualities – its decentralization. Whether in support of Ripple or against it, Ripple news is still a sign that mainstream use and interest is building.
At its swell conference this year, Ripple announced the launch of xRapid – a product to change global remittance payments. There is said to be a significant amount of interest for xRapid’s potential from financial institutions.
It seems as though most of this information has not significantly impacted crypto asset prices (with the exception of Bitcoin ETF speculation in July). It will be interesting to see what happens when the crypto market finally turns around, and people start seeing the price action relating to such interest.