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Will crypto ever be a safe investment?

时间:2周前   阅读:6   评论:1

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,Asia’s first futures ETFs for bitcoin and ether join a growing list of initiatives that will go some way toward ameliorating the current crisis of legitimacy facing virtual assets. — Reuters

IN the annals of cryptocurrencies, 2022 will go down as the year when the industry nearly died.

But then December saw the birth of a pair of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in Hong Kong, offering new hope to both retail and professional investors.

Asia’s first futures ETFs for bitcoin and ether join a growing list of initiatives that will go some way toward ameliorating the current crisis of legitimacy facing virtual assets.

A big dampener is the confusion surrounding safe custody of crypto holdings.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, the most spectacular of last year’s string of crypto debacles, has brought the hapless customers of the failed Bahamas-based exchange in front of a bankruptcy judge in Delaware who’ll determine if they’re entitled to their funds ahead of other creditors.

But FTX is not the only test for crypto custody. Last month, a US bankruptcy judge ordered the insolvent Celsius Network LLC to return the roughly US$50mil (RM219.97mil) that had never earned any interest.

However, the fate of billions of dollars of users’ funds stuck in interest-bearing accounts is still in question: Does the money belong to the debtor’s estate or the customers?

This anxiety-inducing uncertainty should ease with more crypto investments moving to normal bourses as regular securities, no different from stocks and bonds.

That will bring customer assets under the umbrella of standard safeguards, precluding the need for costly legal maneuverings to recover one’s money.

For instance, the newly launched CSOP Bitcoin Futures ETF will entrust custody of customer funds to HSBC Holdings Plc’s licensed Hong Kong trust company that, as Bloomberg Intelligence notes, undergoes regular bank examinations and audits.

This is what fund managers have been waiting for. Adults getting into the crypto playpen will bring grown-up rules with them.

Nobody knows if any of today’s digital assets will amount to anything more than vehicles for speculation. But tokens of the future might represent meaningful economic value.

On that premise alone, it may be worthwhile to create a safe and secure setup now for capital to flow toward them.

The Hong Kong crypto ETF is just one of several recent examples of the financial industry trying to provide protection in a legal vacuum.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp, the custodian of US$43 trillion (RM189.3 trillion) in customer assets, recently opened its vaults to receive some institutional clients’ cryptocurrencies.

BlackRock Inc has also entered the fray by adding crypto to its Aladdin platform, used by pension funds and other large investors to oversee their portfolios.

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