While some consumers and businesses are still considering whether to start using Bitcoin or not, interest in the cryptocurrency among key actors on Wall Street appears to be on the rise, with another financial heavyweight Goldman Sachs recently deciding to make its first investment in the innovative technology.
Goldman Sachs was revealed at the end of April as one of the lead investors in a $50 million funding round for the Bitcoin services company Circle Internet Financial. The millions of dollars invested in the Bitcoin startup show an increasing approval of the leading cryptocurrency among organizations operating on Wall Street.
Bitcoin, introduced by a programmer or group of programmers working under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, is the most widely mined and popular cryptocurrency. The appeals of Bitcoin include financial decentralization, low costs and faster execution of financial transactions.
However, the issues of high volatility in value and use for illegal purposes have contributed to make it hard for Bitcoin to be appealing enough for some people to adopt. The collapse of the Tokyo, Japan-based exchange Mt. Gox and the Silk Road scandal – which involved the use of Bitcoin for purchase of illegal drugs because of its anonymity characteristic – are two major cases that have dampened interest in the mass adoption of the cryptocurrency.
The coming on board of Goldman Sachs looks certain to do a lot to improve the image of Bitcoin before consumers and businesses. It is expected that the leading investment bank and other Wall Street institutions jumping on the Bitcoin train will help to chart a new course for the future of the cryptocurrency.
Goldman Sachs’ joint-leading investor in Circle is the Chinese venture capital company IDG Capital Partners. Other investors providing funds for the Boston-based Bitcoin startup, which is valued at around $200 million, include Breyer Capital and General Catalyst Partners. Before the latest funding round, Circle had managed to raise $26 million in previous rounds.
One fact that makes Goldman Sachs’ investment in Circle especially interesting is that it shows that the financial powerhouse believe the Bitcoin services company has potentials worth tapping into. The bank is known to invest in startups with observed capability to challenge, or make better, the bank’s way of doing business.
The bank is reportedly more interested in the technology on which Bitcoin is based known as blockchain. This technology could be greatly beneficial to different areas of Goldman Sachs’ business, especially trading and security clearing. Tom Jessop, managing director of the Principal Strategic Investments Group at Goldman Sachs, revealed in a statement that the bank places priority on investment in companies that has apparent capability “to transform global markets through technical innovation.”
In January, popular Bitcoin wallet and exchange service Coinbase raised $75 million in new funding from a group which include Wall Street institutions such as the NYSE, BBVA and USAA. Among the Wall Street entities that have also shown interest in cryptocurrency is the NASDAQ, which has entered into a partnership with digital currency exchange Noble Markets.