One in five big financial institutions are getting ready to trade crypto

Tread carefully in the crypto markets.
Tread carefully in the crypto markets.
Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/File Photo
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The burgeoning world of crypto trading mainly exists on the margins of the established financial industry, but that could be changing: Around one in five institutional financial firms have plans to start buying and selling digital tokens within the next 12 months, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Many of the firms that are looking to trade bitcoin, ethereum, ripple, and the like plan to do it soon. Of those that plan to get involved in 2018, around 70% intend to do it in three to six months, according to the survey of more than 400 Thomson Reuters users. The survey didn’t disclose which firms, or which kind of firms, participated.

Big institutions started to take notice of cryptoassets last year, and their interest crescendoed in the last few months of 2017 when bitcoin’s price reached a record of more than $19,000, said Sam Chadwick, director for financial and risk innovation at Thomson Reuters. The prices of bitcoin and other digital tokens have plunged since then:

Even so, crypto remains a popular topic among the institutional set. Chadwick said his conversations with clients suggest that hedge funds and other asset managers are looking more seriously at adding crypto to their portfolios. And the bitcoin landing page—a screen on Thomson Reuters’ Eikon data terminal that shows bitcoin news and links—is the second-most trafficked landing page among all currencies, after the one for the euro.