Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have won their fair share of supporters from the world of Wall Street over the last year.
The bitcoin price, after soaring through much of 2021, has slumped in 2022—with the Federal Reserve’s plans to hike interest rates taking the wind out of crypto prices and stock markets. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, has also swung wildly—in part due to a number of serious ethereum price warnings.
Now, Ken Griffin, the legendary hedge fund billionaire and founder of market-maker Citadel Securities, has changed his tune on cryptocurrencies, revealing that “over the months to come” Citadel will likely “engage in making markets in cryptocurrencies.”
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“Crypto has been one of the great stories in finance over the course of the last 15 years [and] I’ve been in the naysayer camp over that period of time,” Griffin, who founded Citadel in 1990 and has grown it to a $39 billion hedge fund giant, told Bloomberg. Citadel Securities, one of Wall Street’s biggest market-making firms, is responsible for one of five U.S. stock trades.
“But the crypto market today has a market capitalization of about $2 trillion in round numbers, which tells you that I haven’t been right on this call,” Griffen said, adding that “over the months to come, you will see us engage in making markets in cryptocurrencies.”
Just a few months ago Griffin criticized the amount of time and energy that’s spent on cryptocurrencies, saying he wished “all this passion and energy that went into crypto was directed toward making the United States stronger.”
Griffin’s flip to crypto support was broadly welcomed by the crypto community. “Eventually they all capitulate,” crypto investor Anthony Pompliano said via Twitter.
However, like many other Wall Street veterans who have somewhat accepted bitcoin and crypto, Griffin’s support only extends as far as investor demand for crypto services.
“I still have my skepticism, but there are hundreds and millions of people in this world today who disagree with that,” Griffin said. “To the extent that we’re trying to help institutions and investors solve their portfolio allocation problems, we have to give serious consideration to being a market maker in crypto.”
Citadel Securities would be joining the likes of JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs in offering crypto services—something that has been long-awaited by the crypto market which has talked up “institutional money” arriving in the space for years.
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Meanwhile, the crypto market has soared following wide-ranging sanctions being placed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine, pushing the bitcoin price higher and boosting ethereum and other smaller coins.
“The impressive rebound in the market and its positive outlook come off as a result of a massive whale accumulation, as a reawakening was stirred amongst investors about the right timing to stack up the digital assets that have been sold off in the past weeks amidst economic and regional situation in Ukraine,” Alexander Mamasidikov, co-founder of mobile digital bank MinePlex, said in emailed comments, adding the bitcoin price could continue to climb.
“For what it’s worth, the growth was sparked as investors saw that the prices had been depressed and are low enough to present a good opportunity to take a position that will lead to gains. Should this ongoing accumulation continue, bitcoin is poised to retest its 90-day high price above $59,000 in the coming weeks this March while ethereum is on track to retest the $3,500 resistance level before the end of the month.”