Wall Street wants in on Bitcoin. Image via YouTube
A San Francisco-based hedge fund is hiring a Bitcoin execution trader, in yet another sign of how seriously Wall Street takes cryptocurrencies—or possibly that the world is ending. No word on whether or not you get paid in bitcoins.
Adam Besvinick spotted the job ad and shared it on Twitter.
A SF-based hedge fund is seeking a "junior Bitcoin execution trader" - here we go... pic.twitter.com/VQyNplrAtK— Adam Besvinick (@Besvinick) January 3, 2014
According to the job announcement, the firm is seeking a “junior trader to assist with bitcoin trading, general fund operations, and reporting.” As Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal reports, “This is the first time we've seen this.” Weisenthal infamously ranted earlier this year that Bitcoin Has No Intrinsic Value, And Will Never Be A Threat To Fiat Currency and added further fuel to the fire during the currency's most recent bubble, tauntingly proclaiming that Bitcoin Is a Joke. He’s since changed his mind and this fresh development should only further solidify his aboutface. The longer Bitcoin survives, the more converts it will continue to win over, with Wall Street being the latest arrival to the party.
Wall Street’s growing presence in the Bitcoin scene is a big deal because that’s where the money is, and not just their money, but the money the industry manages—in other words, everyone’s money. What this does is cement the status of cryptocurrencies as a brand new asset class; not quite a currency and not quite a commodity, but something totally new and unique. Notice I didn’t specifically say Bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies as a whole, which are now easier than ever to create. That includes Litecoin, Dogecoin, and the latest flavor of the week, the Kanye West coin. But this isn’t la la land, this is serious business.
Professional positions like this within established firms give Bitcoin an air of normality. When Wall Street gets involved, Bitcoin is no longer just the hobby of hackers or the movement of ideologues. Playing with cryptocurrencies becomes just another job; a boring career; a way to pay the bills and get corporate healthcare for you and the family. And for Bitcoin, boring is good. Credit cards shouldn't be exciting, just convenient.
There have been hints that Wall Street would start putting some skin in the game after months of observing from the sidelines. The FOMO was surely strong after traders for the Bitcoin Fund bragged that they were the best performing fund in history. Last month, Bank of America Merrill Lynch started covering the crypto-money, releasing its first report on Bitcoin and even gave it a fair value of $1,300.
“We believe Bitcoin can become a major means of payment for e-commerce and may emerge as a serious competitor to traditional money transfer providers,” said the report, led by currency strategist David Woo. “As a medium of exchange, Bitcoin has clear potential for growth, in our view.”
Yesterday, Wall Street analysts Wedbush added their endorsement, noting that they "believe Bitcoin and its associated technology represent a potential disruption to our covered companies," and adding that, "Bitcoin’s potential lies beyond the 'coin' as the underlying blockchain protocol can be used to replace traditional intermediaries by acting as an exchange mechanism for a multitude of transactions."
Wall Street was also the location of Bitcoin's New Year's Eve party in New York the other day, when Steve Stockman, a Republican representative from Texas, promised to sponsor a pro-Bitcoin bill. 40 Broad Street down in the Financial District is the new home of Bitcoin Center. The Big (or should I say Bit?) Apple in general is becoming a hotbed for crypto-related happenings. BOND New York, a real estate brokerage firm just announced that it would start accepting Bitcoin as payment for real estate transactions. The litany of pro-Bitcoin news has helped push the price over $800 again on Mt. Gox. Bitcoin, it appears, is as resilient as ever.
The influx of more established financial players will inevitably help decrease Bitcoin’s price volatility, which currently prevents it from being a more useful currency. Expecting that in the short term, however, is probably still premature. More than half of bitcoiners expect its price to hit $10,000 in 2014, according to a CoinDesk poll. So much for stability. But of course, Wall Street wouldn’t be playing if there wasn’t money to be made.