Crypto Picking Up Steam: Retail Investors, NFL Legends Dive Into Bitcoin

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It seems that Tom Lee, the co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, is entirely correct with his conjecture that investors are rapidly becoming interested in Bitcoin (BTC) once again. Anecdotal evidence and hard statistics are showing that at last, the mainstream is picking up on cryptocurrency again.

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Retail Investors Flood Bitcoin Markets

For some reason or another, Bitcoin’s pump throughout much of early-2019 went unnoticed by the common Joes and Jills of the world. As Chris Burniske, a partner at Placeholder, suggested in an extensive Twitter thread earlier this year, the mainstream “has almost entirely forgotten about crypto again.”

Gone are the days that “Bitcoin” was a popular word at the dinner table, as mainstream media outlets, the CNBC “Fast Money” segment, in particular, have slowed their coverage to a near-halt. Burniske touched on this, noting that via “conversations with people from home,” the crypto boom is still tangible in their minds, but the subsequent bust wasn’t observed.

Now, however, the retail investor audience seems to be all for cryptocurrency… again.

Spotted by popular commentator CryptoRae, the terms “Coinbase” and “Blockchain”, likely in reference to the two popular Bitcoin wallets, have begun to trend on Apple’s App Store. It isn’t clear what determines that is “trending” on the store, but it seemingly signals that many consumers are looking digital assets they already have or are looking to obtain in the near future.

Not only is FOMO materializing in downloads for key cryptocurrency applications but clicks to crypto-related sites too. According to Google Trends’ latest data, searches for “Bitcoin” in the U.S. have tripled over the past three weeks.

Of course, volume for inquiries regarding the asset is still dramatically lower than during 2017’s peak, but the move is at least notable. A similar trend can be seen in data for other regions and related search terms, namely “Buy Bitcoin” and “crypto.”

On the not-so-retail retail side of the market, we’ve seen some celebrities express interest in Bitcoin. Earlier this week, Russell Okung of the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers began to sing Bitcoin’s praises on his Twitter feed, following key industry players, asking questions about cryptocurrency, and purchasing Saifedean Ammous’ primer on Bitcoin and its relation to money.

And just hours later, Matt Barkley, the quarterback for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, revealed that he was mining Bitcoin, and actually tried to negotiate a deal with the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals that would involve the organizations paying him with BTC.

Institutions Also Are Jumping In

Data confirms that institutional players are also jumping headfirst into cryptocurrency, downing a red pill if you will. On Monday, for instance, the CME’s Bitcoin futures vehicle saw 168,385 BTC worth of volume on Monday, up from February record of 91,690 BTC. In a similar fashion, the Digital Currency Group’s subsidiary Grayscale was revealed Monday to have seen its flagship product, its Bitcoin Trust, post $141 million in volume today on markets.

In terms of custody, institutional involvement in that area seems to be ramping up too. On Wednesday, Brian Armstrong, the chief executive of Coinbase, noted that his firm’s custody service now has over $1 billion worth of digital assets under management. Armstrong adds that this figure continues to increase $150 million each month, calling the security solution a “success”.

And Fidelity Investments revealed that institutions are widely amicable towards the digital asset class. Out of the “more than 400 U.S. institutional investors” polled, 47% agreed that cryptocurrencies should have a place in their portfolios.

Analysts say that this growing institutional and retail interest bodes well for the short-term and medium-term future of Bitcoin’s price. Analytics guru Renato Shirakashi noted that “demand increasing with a limited supply [of coins trading]” decreases the chance of a sell-off.


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