Despite Bitcoin Crash, Wall Street Veterans are Tackling Institutional Crypto

Over recent months, Blockchain.com, Coinbase, and CoinList have all announced the loss of Wall Street veterans, slated to help the startups in their foray into the institutional side of the crypto coin. But, startups in this space seem to be poised to welcome financial institutions into the Bitcoin (BTC) realm with open arms. The fact that such companies continue to get funded should be an indicator that the institutional herd is coming, as former Goldman Sachs partner Mike Novogratz likes to put it.

Goldman Sachs Exec-Founded Tagomi Raises $12M

Last year, Greg Tusar, the former head of electronic trading at Goldman Sachs, and his partners quietly launched a cryptocurrency-focused startup named Tagomi. While the company did face an uphill battle due to the falling market, the venture launched in mid-December, just as BTC established a fresh low at the harrowing price point of $3,150. For those who missed the memo, here’s a tad bit more about the project, and what it aims to accomplish in this embryonic space.

Tagomi is focused on providing prime broker-dealer services, primarily for its bigwig clients. The American startup intends to produce a liquidity pool, easing slippage for gargantuan block orders, while ensuring that transparency and proper trade reporting is upheld.

In a separate interview with The Block, Tusar alluded to the fact that Tagomi is, or is aiming to, fill that gaping hole in this industry, and quick. He explained that there hasn’t been a single platform that has shepherded clients from depositing fiat, deciding on an investment thesis, allocating capital to cryptocurrencies, securing holdings, and all the way to managing these investments for the long haul.

While this premise already secured a stamp of approval from Peter Thiel — the don of the so-called “PayPal Mafia” (which includes Elon Musk, Lighting Network supporter Reid Hoffman, pro-crypto David Sacks) — Tagomi recently closed another round of funding, even amid lackluster industry conditions.

Tusar and his peer, former Union Square Ventures analyst Jennifer Campbell, sat down with Bloomberg to discuss the subject matter on Monday. In the interview, the duo revealed that Tagomi raised $12 million in its second round, from investors like the Yale University-backed Paradigm and Pantera Capital. Overall, the company has raised $28 million so far.

Campbell noted that with this money, Tagomi will continue to act as an agent for companies and traders looking to issue large transactions, while remaining relatively anonymous. She hinted at the fact that this simple feature could entice bigwigs to invest, as they want control over their crypto trading, while still keeping privacy at the forefront.

Tagomi’s recent fundraise only underscores that venture capitalists are still siphoned millions of dollars worth of capital into this space, almost as if there is no tomorrow. Blockchain publications unit Diar reported last week that over crypto’s single decade of history, investment groups have given industry companies over $5 billion — $1.6 billion of which found its way into the wallets of startups just last year.

Related Reading: Despite Bear Market, Crypto Startups Got Boosted By Billions In 2018

And with this in mind, some argue that it appears that such investors see long-term potential in this asset class. But interestingly, venture capitalists seem to see more value in equity positions rather than physical cryptocurrencies themselves.

Crypto Infrastructure Still Trending Strong

Tagomi isn’t the only industry startup focused on building out infrastructure to have seen notable levels of success in recent memory. Fidelity Investments recently revealed that it will be releasing its cryptocurrency custody services in the coming months, which may be a medium for institutions to make a notable entree into this space. Fidelity’s research division also recently took up the Lightning Network torch, as reported by NewsBTC. The company could be looking into integrating the scaling solution in some way, shape, or form into its vast array of financial offerings.

Bakkt, a crypto startup backed by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Microsoft, and Starbucks (the chain may accept BTC payments in the coming months), also intends to launch its services, meant for merchants, institutions, and consumers alike, some time in 2019. In an earnings call, Jeff Sprecher of ICE noted that Bakkt is a “moonshot bet,” but should become a very valuable company over time.

Across the pond, entrepreneurs have also been pushing for institutional adoption. Hong Kong-based Coinsuper revealed that it intends to beckon non-retail clients into the cryptocurrency space, especially as local authorities have cleared the regulatory waters around their thoughts on this asset class.

But will institutions take the cue?

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