Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are here to stay despite the current bear market, says Jeff Sprecher, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and CEO of its parent company, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
When asked about the plunging crypto market values, Sprecher said as an exchange operator, it’s not his place to opine about prices. However, he’s confident about the bright future of digital assets.
“The unequivocal answer is yes [crypto will survive],” Sprecher said at the Consensus: Invest conference in New York this week.
Sprecher noted that bitcoin is still the barometer by which all others cryptocurrencies are judged, and that won’t change.
“Somehow bitcoin has lived in a swamp and survived,” Sprecher said. “There are thousands of other tokens that you could argue are better, but yet bitcoin continues to survive, thrive, and attract attention.”
For Jeff Sprecher, digital assets are become something of a family affair.
His Intercontinental Exchange — along with Microsoft, Starbucks and BCG — is backing a new company called Bakkt, whose CEO is Sprecher’s wife, Kelly Loeffler.
Bakkt will facilitate bitcoin futures trading in the first quarter of 2019. The launch was postponed from December 2018 to January 24, 2019 due to unforeseen demand.
“To give it the best chance for success, we pushed it back…to give people more time to get on board,” Loeffler said, “It’s a positive indication of the interest, and it gives people time to learn.”
Bakkt will provide custody and price discovery for bitcoin — which is regulated as a commodity by the CFTC — in a way that’s designed to be free from market manipulation and fraud.
ICE’s rival, Nasdaq — the world’s second-largest stock exchange — is also charging ahead with its own plans to launch a bitcoin futures product in the first quarter of 2019, as CCN.com reported.
All of this is paving the way for the mass entry of institutional investors into the crypto market and the mainstream adoption of virtual currencies.
“We’re creating that infrastructure that doesn’t exist today, which we think is a big opportunity for institutional investors to come in,” Loeffler said.
While most of the headlines concerning crypto focus on its recent price drops, insiders say what’s happening below the surface is far more exciting and consequential to the future of the industry.
Many experts predict that institutional investments will start pouring in in the first half of 2019 — and that’s a game-changing development that will transform the industry.
“What’s happening behind the scenes is companies are being built to create infrastructure to enable the on-boarding of a whole new category of investors — that’s the institutional investors,” said Barry Silbert, the founder of Digital Currency Group. “So behind the scenes, nobody has slowed down.”
NYSE image from Shutterstock.