The rapid rise of cryptocurrency has not just attracted retail investors but also the big guys of the finance world who are eyeing a part of the booming sector. Following Bitcoin's launch in January 2009, the initial years of the crypto industry were driven largely by technology enthusiasts and amateur investors. Institutional investors had dismissed Bitcoin as a worthless digital asset favoured mostly by criminals, hackers, and profiteers. But now that the market capitalisation of the crypto industry has surpassed $2 trillion, institutions are finding it difficult to let go of the business opportunity.
The shift in approach has been driven by a number of factors, including the incredible success of Bitcoin and other crypto coins. Some institutions are diverting their money to cryptocurrency as a strategy to diversify their investment, with billions of dollars worth of institutional capital flowing into the space this year alone.
Take for example MicroStrategy and its founder Michael Saylor, an outspoken supporter of Bitcoin. The IT services firm is already the largest corporate Bitcoin holder in the world, even ahead of Elon Musk's Tesla. It recently bought another 5,050 Bitcoin to solidify its lead to $5.1 billion.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, another Bitcoin maximalist who founded a mobile payments company named Square, has put his company at the centre of decentralised finance (defi). Square is among the top 5 investors in Bitcoin.
The term unicorn, reserved for private startup companies reaching a value of $1 billion, has found a new meaning with the growth of cryptocurrency. CoinDCX, an online exchange that facilitates trading in Bitcoin and other crypto coins founded in 2018, recently became India's first crypto unicorn after a round of financing.
But there are some also who have not found the crypto industry very encouraging. Like Lee Cooperman. The US billionaire investor and hedge fund manager recently said he still does not understand Bitcoin. He said he thinks it's not in the interest of the US government to further a substitute for the dollar.