Cathie Wood says Bitcoin is in “early days” given its new interest from institutions and its diverse use cases.
Speaking as part of a panel for the Bloomberg Crypto Summit, the founder of Ark Investment Management said the largest digital currency has trillions in market capitalization potential.
“When you think the market cap of Bitcoin is roughly $950 billion, think about that in the context of an Apple,” she said. “It’s less than half of Apple’s valuation and here we’re talking about the reserve currency of the crypto asset world.”
Increased adoption by institutions this year has been a positive surprise, Wood said.
“We expected institutional investors to start moving in,” she said. “What we did not expect from institutions was the diversification on their balance sheet and a diversification of their cash assets into Bitcoin.”
Bitcoin gainge about 4% to $50,680 as of 11:07 a.m. in New York after plummeting about 13% earlier this week in the worst pullback in a year. ARKK extended its decline into a fourth day amid a broader tech sector drop.
Wood emphasized Bitcoin’s role as a hedge and an “insurance policy,” especially in a world of low rates and quantitative easing. There are even instances when it acts as a risk-off asset.
“The dollar is down which is normally a positive cue for gold, but gold is down at the same time, Bitcoin is up,” she said.
Wood also discussed the prospects for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund approval in the U.S., especially if Gary Gensler is confirmed as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We’re going to see a lot of attention on it and the people who are focused on it really know what they are talking about,” she said. “It’s positive ultimately for approval of an exchange-traded product.”
Michael Sonnenshein, chief executive officer of Grayscale Investments, also spoke on the panel which was moderated by Bloomberg Intelligence’s Mike McGlone.
Ark Investment owned 7.3 million shares of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust at the end of 2020, according to a filing. The firm indirectly holds the token through its ETFs’ investments in Tesla Inc. and Square Inc. The $25 billion ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) contains both Tesla and Square, at 10.4% and 4.8% of the fund, respectively. Square is the top holding of the Ark Fintech Innovation ETF (ARKF), at 9%, and is also in the Ark Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW). And Tesla is the top holding of the Ark Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF (ARKQ), at 10.6%.
Square said Tuesday that it bought another $170 million in Bitcoin, adding to its previous $50 million and brining holdings to about 5% of the company’s cash and equivalents. Tesla also disclosed a $1.5 billion Bitcoin addition to its balance sheet earlier this month.
Even before the largest cryptocurrency’s 450% rally in the past year, Wood was a believer. She told Bloomberg News in 2015 — back when Bitcoin had just reached $500 — that she’d doubled her money in the coin amid emerging market volatility. Earlier this week, Wood told Bloomberg Radio that she considers its recent price correction to be healthy.
— With assistance by Olivia Raimonde
(Updates with Bitcon price, Wood’s additional comments from sixth paragraph.)