On May 25, the cryptocurrency trading volume hit $4.3 bln. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin and NEM drove the cryptocurrency trading volume to new all-time highs.
Bitcoin developer and entrepreneur Jimmy Song compared the cryptocurrency trading volume to the exchange volume of major stock exchanges such as NASDAQ. Although the cryptocurrency market’s trading volume is only a fraction of major stock exchanges such as NASDAQ, it is nearing the exchange volume of smaller stock exchanges such as Thailand and Australian stock exchanges.
In order for the cryptocurrency market to near the trading volumes of major stock exchanges, particularly the 16 stock exchanges in the $1 Trillion Dollar Club, the cryptocurrency market will need to achieve a multi-trillion dollar market cap. Currently, the market cap of the cryptocurrency market is $71 bln.
Investors and traders are investing in the cryptocurrency market for a variety of reasons. Some have invested in Ethereum because of its successful partnership strategy demonstrated by the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. Others have invested in Ripple, the third largest crypto asset in the cryptocurrency market, due to its partnerships with the Japan Bank Consortium and leading financial institutions.
A large number of both casual and institutional investors have invested in Bitcoin as a safe haven asset to avoid potential economic uncertainty and financial instability. Some investment firms including Fidelity Investments are actively investigating the potential of Bitcoin and Ethereum by mining the two digital currencies and testing two-layer solutions such as Lightning and Bitcoin-based micropayments solution.
If the demand toward cryptocurrencies continue to increase and investors begin to perceive cryptocurrencies as alternatives to existing financial systems, the cryptocurrency market could surpass the growth, market cap and trading volumes of major stock exchanges in the future.
A phenomenal method of raising funds
Furthermore, similar to the initial public offerings (IPOs) of public companies, Blockchain startups and commercial companies such as Kik have been launching initial coin offerings (ICOs) to sell tokens in a transparent and decentralized manner.
Although analysts have raised concerns over the legality of ICOs and potential response from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, ICO, in theory, is a phenomenal method of raising funds for startups without intermediaries. More importantly, ICOs enable anyone within the community to participate in the investment, providing opportunities for small-scale investors.
Startups that raise or complete successful ICOs often have their tokens listed on cryptocurrency market data providers such as CoinMarketcap and on exchanges. Most recently, Gnosis, a Blockchain-based prediction market platform, raised a multi-million dollar funding round in an ICO at a $300 mln valuation.
The Gnosis token was listed on major US-based Bitcoin exchange Kraken and within a month, it became the seventeenth largest crypto asset in the market.
In a sense, the cryptocurrency market and the concept of ICO represents similar qualities and characteristics of stock exchanges – a decentralized, transparent and autonomous stock exchange.