A fintech head breaks down the 'religious' properties that make bitcoin the top cryptocurrency - and says Chamath Palihapitiya and Jack Dorsey are so devout that they ignore other crypto innovations

BitcoinKTS Design/Science Photo Library/Getty Images
  • Ajit Tripathi, head of institutional business at Aave, described in a recent Citi report why bitcoin is the undisputed leader in the cryptocurrency space.
  • He provided three main reasons why bitcoin has found so much success.
  • Tripathi as discussed the “religious” properties that make it so singularly popular with the likes of Chamath Palihapitiya and Jack Dorsey.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell

The market value of cryptocurrencies has more than tripled since 2017 amid a surge of interest both from institutional and individual investors, cemented by the direct listing of Coinbase on April 14.

Bitcoin has been leading the charge for three main reasons, according to Ajit Tripathi, head of institutional business at decentralized-finance platform Aave. He provided an external voice for a new Citi report this month entitled Future of Money.

First, there’s trust. Bitcoin has not been hacked in its 12 years of existene, Tripathi said.

“Anyone who touches crypto looks at bitcoin first,” he said. “Bitcoin was the first one, and bitcoin platforms have gone through a lot of challenges/accidents and survived.”

Next, Tripathi cites regulatory clarity. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has classified bitcoin as a commodity, which the Securities and Exchange Commission has, thus far, not challenged.

Third, there is brand value. Tripathi, who also co-founded the UK Blockchain practice for PwC, said while the fundamental value of bitcoin has long been assessed, the brand value of the cryptocurrency has been left in the shadows unlike legacy brands such as Apple and Tesla.

Read more: 
Bitcoin is a headache to store, and that’s created an investment opportunity that could theoretically pay determined traders big risk-free returns by December

“Bitcoin also has an extraordinary brand value,” he said. “Even Silicon Valley pundits like Chamath Palihapitiya or Jack Dorsey are essentially bitcoin maximalists – they cannot think beyond bitcoin and do not acknowledge other cryptocurrency innovations.”

He continued: “In that sense, bitcoin has some of those religious properties; and such strong sentiments are very valuable, if you are trading.”

Citi in the report also said the characteristics of bitcoin vary widely, thus, making it hard to value. But, long term, the researchers, led by Ronit Ghose, global head of banks and co-head of global fintech research, said that bitcoin as a digital payment mechanism will have a potentially larger value than its use as a form of digital gold.

In all, Citi said it acknowledges the changing tides the world is experiencing right now.

“We are at an inflection point in the history of money, faced with different paths to modernize payments,” said Tony McLaughlin, emerging payments & business development at Citi treasury and trade solutions.

Bitcoin this week hit record highs, inching close to $65,000 but slipped 2.2% on Friday.

Read more: 
Buy these 16 stocks with more than 10% upside that are set to increase dividend payments for years to come, UBS says

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.