ICO News: Wall Street Is Good for ICOs

on Oct 4, 2017
Updated: Mar 11, 2020

Plenty of comments have been coming out of traditional investment circles of late on the viability of cryptocurrencies and upcoming ICOs alike. While certain comments have been scathing, others, such as the most recent remarks out of BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink, offer a more balanced view. Either way, positive or negative, the fact that Wall Street executives are taking the time to talk about the asset class is good for upcoming ICOs.

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon was perhaps the earliest to comment on cryptocurrencies last month when he referred to bitcoin as a fraud. All his comments seem to have done, however, is inspire a wave of other Wall Street firms to come to the table on the issue offering more sanguine views.

Meanwhile Dimon’s remarks coincided with the banning of upcoming ICOs by China’s regulators, which only added fuel to the fire at the time. Those flames, however, have since been diminished based on the recovery in cryptocurrency prices since then. Besides, Dimon’s remarks suggest that cryptocurrencies are beginning to pose some threat to fiat currencies; otherwise why would he waste his time?

BlackRock’s Fink’s comments are twofold, really. He pointed to the ascension of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as a means of pinpointing money laundering taking place around the world. For instance, some digital tokens have reportedly been used to participate in nefarious activities including but not limited to money laundering amid the unregulated nature of the asset class. His remarks might seem to dampen the mood for upcoming ICOs, but he didn’t stop there.

Mr. Fink, who runs the world’s largest asset management firm, after a somewhat lackluster Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean Fink’s comments didn’t resonate with upcoming the asset class including upcoming ICOs.

BlackRock’s Fink is not the first Wall Street exec whose opinion about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies differs from that of industry peer Dimon. Morgan Stanley’s chief executive James Gorman admitted that cryptocurrencies are not just a fad, seemingly coming to the defense of digital coins and in a nod to upcoming ICOs. He acknowledges the speculative nature of digital tokens such as bitcoin but he also says the asset class is not inherently bad, just begging for regulation.  

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, the most traditional bank on Wall Street based on everything from corporate culture to its location, is dabbling with the idea of trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. If that doesn’t inspire upcoming ICOs and perhaps insert a bit of urgency for those considering the asset class, perhpaps nothing will. 

The views expressed in the above commentary are my own.