• “It’s a cyclical business, but it will continue to grow. Each wave creates more interest and adoption,” Zagotta said
  • “A week in crypto is like a year in traditional finance because of the rate of innovation,” he said

The cryptocurrency industry has been around about 12 years, since bitcoin’s inception in 2009, but it is still in its early stages for global adoption, Robert “Bobby” Zagotta, the CEO of Bitstamp USA said in an interview with Blockworks.

“About 10 years ago, crypto was literally a cypherpunk outlaw, a ‘below the surface’ community and concept that was viewed with skepticism. Now, major financial institutions are offering it or in the process of offering it so it’s absolutely amazing how the acceptance curve has changed,” he said. 

Bitstamp, the longest-running cryptocurrency exchange, hit its 10-year anniversary last week. In Q1 of this year, the company’s trading volume increased by 512%, compared to the same quarter-period of last year, it said. Additionally, customer growth is up 197% in the last year, Bitstamp said. 

The company doubled down on its US efforts earlier this year after seeing a three-digit percentage increase in user uptick and interest as retail investors dip their feet in the bull market and digital assets make their way to the balance sheet of many ordinary folk, Blockworks previously reported. 

Since opening in the US, Bitstamp has seen 666% growth in institutional investors and 1,934% growth in retail investors, it said.

The 2021 wave 

As the market is seeing growth and adoption by institutional investors and major financial players, Zagotta said he still expects there to be continued waves of growth and decline. “It’s a cyclical business, but it will continue to grow. Each wave creates more interest and adoption,” Zagotta said. 

The market is currently in it’s “2021 wave,” where hedge funds, banks, brokers and traditional trading companies are investing heavily so they can offer it to their customer bases, Zagotta said. “A week in crypto is like a year in traditional finance because of the rate of innovation,” he said. 

With that said, there are some players in the crypto ecosystem who have a “burn it to the ground mentality about traditional financial services,” however Zagotta said he and Bitstamp as a whole believe it’s important to bridge between crypto and traditional financial services. 

“I don’t want to battle traditional financial institutions. I want to help them and help them help us bring this concept to the world,” he said. 

From a Bitstamp perspective, cryptocurrencies are an incredibly powerful development that should be available to everyone in the world, Zagotta said. 

“It could mean life or death or wealth or lack of wealth,” he said. “We think it’s incredibly powerful and incredibly important and in order for (growth) to happen, well-respected reliable institutions have to participate in a smart way,” he added. 

In the near future, the crypto industry will also need to look at regulation and work with it, rather than work around it, Zagotta said. 

“If you’re really interested in adoption of this concept globally you have to work with regulators and help them make smart choices because that’s a necessary condition for widespread adoption,” he said.

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  • Jacquelyn Melinek is a Houston-based reporter covering digital asset funds and markets. She previously reported on energy markets for S&P Global Platts and Bloomberg News and is published in over 65 news outlets. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Media and Journalism.