In the past nine years, the proliferation of cryptocurrencies has propelled the growth of a number of multi-billion dollar companies, not to mention thousands of smaller organizations. The term Initial Coin Offering (ICO), for new cryptocurrency issues, has become as well-known and Initial Public Offering (IPO), used for new stock offerings. Investors all over the world are piling into cryptocurrencies, from bitcoin, to Ethereum, to LiteCoin and many other emerging blockchain-based investments.
For such a new industry, the growth of the crypto industry has been stunning. Crypto exchange Coinbase, for example, now has 20 million users. That is as large a customer base as investment stalwart Fidelity Investments and twice as large as decades old discount broker Charles Schwab. Just a few years ago, few could have imagined a company like Coinbase growing into a giant so fast. This prompts many to wonder, are cryptocurrencies working to compete with Wall Street?
As detailed by CCN, crypto remains on a path of incredible growth; however, issues of scalability still hold it back from growing to the size of Wall Street. Although the crypto market still lacks the infrastructure needed to be as large as Wall Street, one must remember that the Wall Street financial empire has been evolving and growing since the 1800s, while crypto remains in its infancy.
Addressing some scalability issues
At Bitcoin’s late 2017 peak, users were paying transaction fees of at least $10. Gas remains a necessity for decentralized application development, and its high cost has stymied the Ethereum blockchain, which requires gas process information. Exchanges like Coinbase and its South Korean counterpart Bithumb face challenges in scaling customer service and other operations.
Though the exchanges have shown remarkable ability to handle high volume trades and adapt to fast changing technology, processing errors remain an issue. Because of crypto’s volatility, investors have little patience. A small delay can mean big money. As a result, companies like Coinbase are fending off customer complaints, many of which land at Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
The crypto industry has been gearing up to tackle these challenges. Coinbase has grown its customer service staff by 150 percent between February and June 2018. Investors’ appetite for crypto continues unabated, despite any growing pains. With the worldwide demand so strong and continuing to gain steam, crypto has clearly made its mark. As it tackles scalability, it will continue to grow in proportion to Wall Street.