Deutsche Bank in December 2019 said, “Cryptocurrencies could replace cash by 2030.”
That same month, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges wrote, “Cryptocurrency has already produced hundreds of millionaires, a number of billionaires, and may produce the world’s first trillionaires in the next decade.” Small wonder, then, that the university endowments of Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Dartmouth, UNC and others already own digital assets.
Renaissance Technologies, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, amended its Form ADV in April 2020 so it can engage in bitcoin futures transactions. Then in May 2020, hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones said Wall Street could be witnessing the historic “birthing of a store of value” in bitcoin and announced he had placed almost 2% of his assets in bitcoin. “Every day that goes by that bitcoin survives, the trust in it will go up. When I think of bitcoin, look at it as one tiny part of a portfolio. It may end up being the best performer of all of them, I kind of think it might be. But I’m very conservative. I’m going to keep a tiny percent of my assets in it and that’s it.”
JPMorgan Chase, in July 2020, issued a report saying the performance of bitcoin during the Covid-19 crisis suggests it has “longevity as an asset class.”
And in August 2020: publicly traded software firm MicroStrategy announced that it invested $250 million in bitcoin as a “capital allocation strategy.” In September, the company invested an additional $175 million in bitcoin.
Indeed, 94% of asset managers hold digital assets, and 38% of them say will increase their allocation in 2020, according to a survey by State Street Global.
George Ball agrees. In August 2020, the former chairman of Prudential Securities said bitcoin or other digital assets are “very attractive” and predicted that many people will soon invest in this asset class.
In fact, they already are. Retail investors aren’t being left behind. Coinbase has more account holders than Schwab: 35 million vs. 14 million. In H1 2020, Coinbase added 5 million new accounts vs. 1.1 million for Schwab.
Bitcoin is a particular favorite with Millennials. According to Schwab’s December 2019 Report, the top 5 holdings of Millennials are (in order) Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Facebook and the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. Millennials own more bitcoin than they own stock in Berkshire Hathaway, Disney, Netflix, Microsoft or Alibaba.
Grayscale, in fact, added $900 million in assets in Q2 2020 – nearly 2x its prior record. Of that, $750 million was deposited into the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust and $135 million into the Grayscale Ethereum Trust.
Also in Q2 2020, Signature Bank received $8 billion in new deposits; $1 billion of that were deposits of bitcoin.
Today, 5% of Americans own bitcoin., according to the Global Blockchain Council. The number of people who own digital assets doubled in 2018 to 35 million, says the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
The biggest players are involved: Fidelity’s Abby Johnson says, “Our goal is to make digitally-native assets, such as bitcoin, more accessible to investors.” In August 2020, Fidelity agreed to serve as sub-custodian for $13 billion in bitcoin on behalf of Kingdom Trust, the largest independent IRA custodian of alternatives. Fidelity will secure the passwords for KT’s customers.
As a financial advisor, you probably agree that your clients might already own bitcoin. Bitwise’s 2020 survey found that 72% of advisors say their clients definitely or might own digital assets. But only 6% of advisors have placed digital assets into client portfolios.
What are you waiting for?