The year 2017 will likely be remembered as the year that cryptocurrency first began to break into the mainstream. Led by bitcoin, cryptocurrencies have gradually begun to penetrate the public consciousness, and this process has been reflected in mainstream finance.
Last week, the Swiss banking group announced that it had added four altcoins to its online trading platform. In addition to bitcoin, Swissquote clients can now trade ethereum, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and ripple against EUR and USD trading pairs. The bank said that it selected these four altcoins based both on consumer demand and liquidity.
Earlier this year, Swissquote partnered with Bitstamp to allow the bank’s clients to trade bitcoin against EUR and USD, and the firm said that demand for the service had exceeded its expectations.
Marc Bürki, CEO of Swissquote said that the Bitcoin trading offer and certificate was a huge success and exceeded expectations. It was the reason they were now offering to help investors diversify in cryptocurrencies, just like they do in traditional securities. “Cryptocurrencies are increasingly popular, more quickly than anyone expected,” he added.
One industry executive believes that central banks will begin holding bitcoin in reserve as soon as 2018.
Cryptocurrency adoption has been most evident among fintech startups such as Square Cash and Revolut, each of whom has integrated bitcoin purchases into their mobile applications. However, even dedicated cryptocurrency applications—most notably Coinbase—have begun to surge in popularity as well.
This month, Wall Street made its first foray into the cryptocurrency ecosystem with the launch of bitcoin futures on two U.S. exchanges. However, most mainstream banks have been hesitant to engage directly with cryptocurrency, and some financial institutions continue to blackball cryptocurrency-related companies, including bitcoin exchanges, due to concerns over anti-money laundering regulations.