Bitcoin is 'more than just a fad,' says Morgan Stanley chief
By William Watts, MarketWatch
Other Wall Street heavyweights have bashed cryptocurrencies
Just when it seemed Wall Street's bitcoin skepticism knew no bounds, Morgan Stanley (MS) Chief Executive James Gorman steps in to argue that the cryptocurrency phenomenon at least is "more than just a fad."
Gorman made the remarks during a Wednesday event hosted by The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg reported (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-27/bitcoin-more-than-just-a-fad-morgan-stanley-ceo-gorman-says).
Gorman highlighted some of the potential attractions of a digital currency, including "the privacy protections it gives people," adding that it is "interesting because what it says to the central banking system about controlling that."
That stands in contrast to remarks by Jamie Dimon, chief executive of Wall Street rival J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), who sent digital currency aficionados into a tizzy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-faithful-rage-against-jamie-dimon-2017-09-14)after he declared bitcoin a fraud and a bubble (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jamie-dimons-good-argument-for-bitcoin-wont-win-him-any-point-with-cryptocurrency-fans-2017-09-12), saying, "It's worse than tulip bulbs and won't end well." Dimon, however, did emphasize he was separating the bitcoin phenomenon from the blockchain technology that underlies digital currencies.
Then there's billionaire Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund, who last week said cryptocurrencies like bitcoin meet his firm's criteria for a market bubble (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-is-a-bubble-says-the-head-of-the-worlds-largest-hedge-fund-2017-09-19), in part because they don't serve as a reliable storehold of value due to their extreme volatility and signs that people buy them with the sole of intent of selling them on later at a higher price. "Bitcoin is a highly speculative market," he told CNBC. "Bitcoin is a bubble."
Even some of bitcoin's Wall Street backers are pushing the bubble narrative. Former Fortress Investment Group manager Mike Novogratz this week called bitcoin "the largest bubble of our lifetimes," but said traders stand to "make a whole lot of money on the way up, and we plan on it." Novogratz is looking to launch a $500 million hedge fund (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/crypto-fund-manager-youll-never-see-a-bigger-bubble-than-bitcoin-buy-it-anyway-2017-09-26) that will invest in cryptocurrencies.