A report from Citi says bitcoin is at a tipping point and could soon become the preferred choice for international trade. At the same time, another major international bank, Goldman Sachs, has decided to restart its cryptocurrency exchange desk, and many others in Wall Street, such as JPMorgan, say they are getting closer to adopt it and start offering it to clients and employees.
The moves follow a season of major bitcoin price instability, reaching more than $57,000 on February 21 to later fall to $45,000, due among other things to statements by influential figures such as Elon Musk or the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen.
The decision by companies such as Tesla or Square to acquire significant amounts in bitcoins as a form of investment or to balance their cash position has stirred up the cryptocurrencies market, overcoming doubts about their future role within the global monetary system. Square is interesting, because in addition to allowing its users to operate with bitcoins through the Cash App, it is also investing heavily in this cryptocurrency, which is an important bet not on cryptocurrencies in general, but on bitcoin specifically. Each of these bets by major players represent, quite simply, another stage on the road to mass adoption of bitcoin as a mainstream cryptocurrency.
The problem for bitcoin, as Elon Musk himself states while recommending “not to bet the farm on cryptocurrencies” or risk one’s life savings, is that it will probably take us quite some time yet to know whether it will actually be the cryptocurrency of choice as a standard. Which prompted another of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates, to recommend investing in bitcoins… but “only if you are Elon Musk” and can assume the risk derived from it. That risk-taking is where a lot of investors, of all kinds, are at the moment.
Meanwhile, China continues to roll out its national digital currency, pointing to a slower transition through so-called stablecoins, seen by many as a phase that would educate the market. Others, however, claim that cryptocurrencies, and particularly bitcoin, with almost 90% of its units already in circulation, are already at a point of maturity that would enable mass adoption, which in turn would lead to the progressive stabilization of its value and to stop being used simply as a store of value to be speculated on.
The fact that large companies and now international banks are betting on it is just one more way of bringing closer that moment of truth: the arrival of a universal currency not controlled by any specific actor, rather than the current inefficient monetary system whose sell-by date expired long ago.