The $150 billion investment branch of Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley is reportedly considering a large investment in bitcoin, according to reporting from Bloomberg.
The investment branch of the bank, Counterpoint Global, is evaluating whether BTC would represent a “suitable option for its investors.” A move to acquire bitcoin on the part of the bank would require regulatory approval from the federal government, although bitcoin’s decentralized nature makes it hard to claim that anyone- even a major bank- is acquiring it in an anticompetitive fashion.
An embrace of bitcoin would represent a reversal from the bank’s previous dismissal of the cryptocurrency. In 2017, a Morgan Stanley analyst claimed that bitcoin’s real value was “zero,” while the currency was trading for $14,000 a coin. In mid-February 2020, one bitcoin trades for almost $50,000, in a development that assuredly represents an embarrassment for its critics.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the technology company had acquired more than $1.5 billion in bitcoin last week, in what quite possibly represents the greatest investment in the cryptocurrency from a major global corporation.
An investment from the publicly traded multinational bank would likely be much larger, potentially opening the floodgates for other powerful financial institutions to embrace the use of bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Ironically, the embrace of bitcoin by major western financial institutions could ultimately threaten their own power. Bitcoin was created by an the anonymous ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ in response to the financial crisis of 2009, in which major banks coerced a bailout from western government in response to a collapse of the establishment financial system. The blockchain system allows for transactions without the use of a third party subject to centralized control.