Banks like to pretend that they're so much more established and secure than the world of cryptocurrencies, but as anybody who pays close attention to the headlines would know...that's just not the case...
Setting aside all of their rhetoric about embracing the blockchain, banks have mostly avoided or opposed cryptos (Goldman Sachs, sensing the opportunity for profit, is one notable exception), often citing their volatility and the ease with which they can be used to launder money as qualities that disqualify them from being taken seriously (though, as we recently witnessed with the US dollar, perhaps banks need to rework this volatility argument a bit). Even yesterday's announcement of the first criminal charges against a cryptocurrency trader pales in comparison to the many, many crimes that banks (or even one bank) have settled allegations of. The real answer to why the banks’ dislike cryptocurrencies is probably because they feel threatened. The recent selloff notwithstanding, the rise of cryptocurrencies has continued unabated, despite the efforts of some of the most powerful governments on Earth, while the concept is still very young, it does have potential to shake up the aging fiat system. In order to understand the race between the banks and cryptocurrencies, we developed a visual to see just how "David" is comparing to "Goliath."
Using data from Yahoo Finance and CoinMarketCap.com, HowMuch.com's data team developed a visual that compares the market caps between some of the world’s largest banks and the largest cryptocurrencies. On the left blue column, there are four banks listed from largest to smallest market caps: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of China, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. Conversely, the right red column features the total cryptocurrency market, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, NEO, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, and Stellar. The larger the circle, the bigger the market cap.
Total Crypto Market Exceeds Size Of JPMorgan; Banks Fight Back In Attempt To Slow Growth
After an extraordinarily volatile (even for bitcoin) start to the year, cryptocurrencies are rallying once again, with bitcoin breaking above $10,000. As of Feb. 16, 2018, the crypto market had a market cap of $470 billion - larger than the size of the United States’ largest bank, JPMorgan Chase.
Bitcoin's market cap alone is comparable to Bank of China's. The second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Ethereum, is comparable in size to Morgan Stanley. It is stats like these that have the global banking sector worried that cryptocurrencies are on track to make a serious impact on their operations.
One of the most recent efforts to help slow the pace of crypto growth were announcements from several banks saying that customers could no longer purchase digital currency with their credit cards. Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger has called Bitcoin “totally asinine” and Warren Buffet has said he would "buy a five-year put on every cryptocurrency."
Overall, cryptocurrencies are seeing their size and value top even some of the largest financial institutions in the world. This has caused banks to fight back and attempt to slow their growth. However, even banks clearly don’t know what they really want. After JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon famously declared Bitcoin a "fraud", it is interesting to now see a report published by the investment bank that calls Bitcoin-based ETFs the "holy grail for owners and investors."
And should the bitcoin ETF become a reality, do you really think banks will turn down those lucrative fees?
What do you think?