Bitcoin prices may be plunging from their highs of just a couple of weeks ago, but investors should not fear a bubble in cryptocurrency and the impact that a potential burst would have on the financial markets. And the cryptocurrency may have its independence to thank for that.
"If prices for bitcoin were to plunge suddenly, because it's so independent from the financial system, it's kind of its own thing," said Jeffrey Kleintop, chief global investment strategist at Charles Schwab, in a recent interview with Business Insider. "It hasn't yet become embedded in the economy and the financial structure."
According to Kleintop, he is constantly asked if bitcoin is a bubble, with some wondering if they missed it and others worried about what will happen if it crashes, similar to the dotcom boom and bust and the implosion in the housing market. But Kleintop doesn't think its impact will be as huge as the other two bubbles because bitcoin is unregulated, anonymous and not embedded in the financial markets around the globe. "We know what happened when the dotcom bubble burst. We know what happened when the housing bubble burst. But I think the bitcoin bubble, if you want to call it that, is something different," he said.
Unlike some of its peers, including TD Ameritrade, TradeStation and E*TRADE, The Charles Schwab Corporation (SCHW) has been taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to offering customers access to bitcoin futures from the likes of CME Group Inc. (CME) and Cboe World Markets. Fidelity Investments is also watching, while Ally Invest, which had originally said that it would offer bitcoin futures, is now doing a further evaluation before offering the products to its clients.
"While Charles Schwab is not currently engaged in cryptocurrency trading, we are monitoring this new market and evaluating our clients' interest levels and familiarity with cryptocurrencies, along with their dynamics and risks," said Schwab senior manager of communications Kaitlyn Downing in a recent statement. "We intend to study the new proposed bitcoin futures contracts and weigh their associated risks with an eye to protecting our clients’ interests before we make these products available."