The New York Stock Exchange.
These are big market entities. How big?
Starbucks’ current market cap is approximately 70 billion dollars.
Microsoft’s current market cap stands around 850 billion dollars.
The New York Stock Exchange handles trading of listed companies totaling more than 20 trillion dollars.
We’re talking massive numbers here. For comparison’s sake, the entire market cap of Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies currently in existence is about 135 billion dollars.
Of course, when using numbers in the millions and the billions, it’s easy to lose perspective. For comparison’s sake, consider that the collective value of the entire cryptocurrency market is less than a quarter of the current value of the Microsoft Corporation alone. All cryptocurrencies added together into one large value sum would comprise less than a single percent of the value of all listed companies on the NYSE.
Less than one percent.
Keep in mind, the NYSE is just one of many exchanges owned and operated by ICE — the Intercontinental Exchange. Based in America, this company owns more than 20 exchanges and marketplaces around the world.
So we’re looking at a very, very small market entering a truly massive space.
As the markets have continued to lumber along bearishly, it’s been fascinating to watch big market players quietly entering the fray, keeping their interest in the cryptocurrency realm on the “down-low”. It turns out, for example, that the group of corporations behind the upcoming Bakkt exchange, including Starbucks, Microsoft, and ICE, among others, has been working on this for a couple years now, even before crypto markets were really moving and gaining momentum into the incredible bull run of 2017.
What’s important to note about Bakkt is the fact that this exchange will allow for the trading of actual digital assets, beginning at least, with Bitcoin — not shares or derivatives or certificates of digital assets — but the trading of genuine digital assets in secured custody of the exchange.
Of course, ideally, one should have direct custody of any digital asset (remember, if an exchange holds your private keys, it holds your assets). However, this exchange’s direct custody of digital assets necessitates a significant commitment on the part of all participating entities. It will have a direct effect on the supply of Bitcoin and will create market pressure that should increase scarcity and, logically, should result in higher demand and market value for listed digital assets.
The selling point for Bakkt to regulators is partly the track record of ICE and its long, successful operation of a number of exchanges, most prominently, the New York Stock Exchange, being the largest stock exchange in the world. Additionally, the security and trust provided to institutional investors, who have up until now been hesitant to dip their toes into the waters of crypto, might finally be the gentle push needed to get larger scale investment in Bitcoin going.
While those who have long been traveling down the rabbit hole that is cryptocurrency know that trusting in exchanges, banks, or big corporations is antithetical to the crypto movement, they also know that the truth is in the math. If Bakkt can entice larger scale investment into Bitcoin, with the likes of 401k’s and pensions jumping in, the numbers could be huge.
With Bakkt, the Wall Street crowd finally gets a chance to dabble by entering through their trusted and familiar pathways, holding hands with their white-collared colleagues as they step nervously into the crypto realm, joining in the generation of wealth provided by revolutionary technology. They too can reap the benefits of this paradigm shift, even whilst remaining unaware of the real value of cryptocurrency as a decentralised, autonomous entity that can not be centralised, fenced in, or shut down.
And that’s OK. It can be our little secret.