Although a number of major players are down with Bitcoin (BTC) in 2020, several aspects are still deterring institutions from investing on a large scale, said Robert Li, an analyst for Draper Dragon, a Draper Venture Network fund.
“I think there are a few issues that are still holding the majority of institutional investors from allocating free capital to Bitcoin,” Li said during part of the Latin America Bitcoin Conference on Tuesday.
“Number one would be reputation issues arising from Bitcoin’s previous association with organized crime and terrorists and online drug dealers.
Silk Road, a former online black market, was once a striking example of nefarious activity facilitated by Bitcoin transactions. Li said he believes the scene is different now, based on government action and help from analytics companies.
By 2020, Bitcoin will be increasingly legitimized in the mainstream for legal use. PayPal recently added Bitcoin and other crypto assets on its platform, and traditional financial participants, such as Microstrategy, have begun to buy significant sums of the coin. However, the floodgates haven’t opened yet in terms of major players’ access to the space, and Bitcoin’s reputation may not be the only aspect intimidating mainstream money.
Regulations also seem to get in the way, although laws are region-specific, with certain countries leading the space, Li said. “In many ways crypto regulation is not mature here in the US,” he noted.
Spot crypto exchanges in the US are not regulated in the same way as national stock exchanges such as NYSE or NASDAQ, he said. “As you can imagine, they are not bound by the same kind of investor protection standards.”
Li also said major players are wary of market manipulation in Bitcoin, which he noted as a logical fear according to past price moves that have emerged from relatively unregulated exchanges. Volatility may also fend off new institutional Bitcoiners, as well as a “widespread lack of institutional services and tool sets” for such players, although that aspect has improved in recent years, Li said.
Apparently leading the way in terms of early adopters for a lot of money, Microstrategy recently expressed interest to purchase even more BTC than it already owns.