Crypto and the Inevitable Future of Banking Services

Cryptocurrency is making a rapid journey to maturity. There were seven cryptocurrencies in April 2013. Now there are about 20,000 in circulation. In May 2022, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies was $1.2 trillion, and trading volumes had breached $500 billion a day. There are an estimated 34,000 crypto ATMs across the world and 68 million crypto wallet holders. Blockchain, the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies, is maturing, with organizations like Microsoft, Intel, and Nvidia investing in it. El Salvador and the Central African Republic have gone ahead and adopted it as legal tender. Most significantly, cryptocurrencies have begun to reflect the features of traditional financial products and assets, but at lowered costs. Yet, there is a sense of hesitance amidst many traditional financial services (FS) providers to take the plunge into crypto. The hesitancy could prove expensive, with newly minted FinTechs grabbing the opportunity presented by decentralized digital currencies. Some banks have seized the opportunity and are showing the way. BNY Melon, for example, has invested $321 million in crypto custodian companies. Citi Bank has invested $279 million in SETL, enabling tokenization and digital custody. Morgan Stanley has invested in NYDIG, also a crypto custody firm. Goldman Sachs, Nomura, Barclay, UBS, and BPN Paribas are other leaders investing in crypto. Estimates suggest that 55 percent of the top 100 banks have invested in crypto and blockchain. The window of opportunity keeps narrowing with each passing day as the number of traditional FS providers exploring the new business opportunities in cryptocurrencies grows (see Table 1 for Banks and the crypto brings opportunity).

Crypto and the Inevitable Future of Banking Services