Bart Smith, the head of the cryptocurrency at trading giant Susquehanna International Group, told CNBC on July 10 that Bitcoin is still the best choice for crypto investors because people are actually using it.
Although it’s been a rough few weeks for Bitcoin with the stagnation of prices, there seems to be some hope on the horizon. Or at least that’s what Bart Smith believes.
“If you want to own the asset that you can use today and that people are functionally using, it’s Bitcoin. The use case for Bitcoin is valid today, which is the currency of the internet,” Smith specified.
Smith, dubbed the “Crypto King” of Wall Street because of his extensive knowledge of the industry and his attitude toward investing in cryptocurrency, called Bitcoin the “currency of the Internet.”
Although Bitcoin is not the only fish in the crypto sea, Smith’s opinion is that it is the most functional. In his words, Bitcoin has established use cases, and that gives it the upper hand over other cryptocurrencies.
One of these use cases is people working in one country and sending money to their friends and families in other countries. This would be much easier and cheaper if they used Bitcoin instead of, for example, traditional banks or Western Union, which are notoriously slow and expensive. Bitcoin also has no obstacles in the transaction process, which is not the case with traditional methods.
Commenting on the situation in fall 2017, when Bitcoin futures were announced, Smith said that “people got very excited about Bitcoin. They got really excited about all these other tokens and use cases. And all of the sudden you saw all of these other tokens, as people got excited about them, massively outperform. We got way ahead of ourselves.”
“If you’re looking at these other use cases, smart contracts, or lightning network or these different technological advancements, I think people are coming to realize, those things are very difficult and aren’t coming anytime soon,” Smith said.
Smith is certain that institutional investors will start pouring cash into the crypto market as soon as the regulatory framework becomes clearer.
“There’s a big debate going on about whether there should be more or less [crypto] regulation. From our standpoint, it’s really about regulatory clarity. There has been a tremendous amount of focus on the SEC and Chairman Clayton’s comments. But it’s really a whole host of other regulatory agencies out there because the ecosystem expands beyond the traditional financial assets,” he explained.
In December 2017, Smith said that, although Bitcoin has an incredibly wide range of uses, its best bet at the moment, is to challenge gold as a scarce commodity that can be moved around more easily. What this means is that the investors aren’t buying things or services with Bitcoin, but they are hoarding it as virtual gold, a new way to keep money outside the control and oversight of any authority or company.
Financial company Susquehanna International Group, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., is one of the largest investment trading companies, dealing with traditional investments such as stocks, options, and ETFs (exchange-traded funds). Over the course of past two years, it has also facilitated trading in Bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrencies in private deals for a small group of around a dozen people.
Now, they are opening trading to a larger group of around 500 of their clients, and are planning to expand even further.
“We have a dedicated team of traders and technologists. We’ve been trading Bitcoin primarily, but in 2017 as the marketplace expanded, we expanded the number of coins we were trading and the number of exchanges we were providing liquidity on. We are trading on average a couple hundred million dollars a day [on Bitcoin futures] across CME, and CFE combined that’s not retail,” said Smith.