Morgan Stanley thinks bitcoin is nothing more than a poster child for speculation
Bitcoin may be the reigning prima donna of the crypto market, but at least one big Wall Street bank is not impressed.
A team of Morgan Stanley analysts led by James Faucette on Wednesday held up bitcoin BTCUSD, +1.65% as a poster child for speculation while downplaying its potential as a legitimate currency.
In a scathing report, the analysts noted that the number of online merchants accepting bitcoin has dropped to just three, from five a year earlier. During the same period, the value of the cryptocurrency has soared more than 250%.
“The disparity between virtually no merchant acceptance and bitcoin’s rapid appreciation is striking,” Faucette wrote.
He blamed the lack of bitcoin’s appeal for retailers on hoarding by investors given its rapid appreciation, as well as higher costs and slow transaction times.
But ironically, the main culprit may be its own skyrocketing worth.
“The ecosystem has focused more on value speculation rather than the foot-leather-eating work of increasing acceptance — way easier to trade speculatively than convince new merchants to accept the cryptocurrency,” said Faucette.
In June, Morgan Stanley had warned that for digital currencies to join the ranks of other traditional investment tools, they must accept government oversight, although it did not articulate what that would entail.
Meanwhile, until those regulations are introduced, the debate over whether bitcoin is just another form of Monopoly money or a bona fide currency is likely to continue without a definitive conclusion.