A survey of a group of 97 Chief Financial Officers has unveiled increasingly optimistic attitudes around bitcoin, as the currency continues to gain support from mainstream financial institutions and investors.
The report by CNBC asked the CFOs from companies spanning a range of sectors to give their opinions on the current state of bitcoin. Out of a total of 43 responses, 27.9% said the currency was real but in a bubble, while a further 14% said they felt bitcoin was real and still increasing in value.
This was balanced by around 28% of respondents, who felt bitcoin was a ‘fraud’, and a further 30% who felt they didn’t know enough about cryptocurrency to form a view. Nevertheless, the results indicate a firm acceptance in some quarters for the merits of bitcoin – a finding backed up by increasing support from institutional investors and other financial organizations.
This week, JP Morgan announced it is considering offering its clients access to bitcoin investments, despite earlier high profile pronouncements from their executive Jamie Dimon calling it a ‘fraud’.
Similarly, a $10 billion asset manager in Paris has this week launched the first European fund set up specifically to invest in bitcoin and digital currency, while hedge fund billionaire Mike Novogratz established a $500 million fund for investments in the space.
However, while the signs are promising, bitcoin is still given short shrift in some parts of the world. Most notably, authorities in China have banned bitcoin trading and transactions, while the Russian state has also clamped down on digital currency transactions. This week, a Russian Minister has gone a step further, declaring the country will ‘never’ consider legalizing bitcoin.
Karim Hajjar, a CFO who responded to the survey, said that while this might indicate continued growth for bitcoin medium term, ‘the jury was still out’ on the currency in certain business sectors.
“It’s not a currency we are using for a multibillion dollar business … it’s something we are curious about, we are very very open to, but we haven’t found a way to really integrate it into our business…If a hypothetical customer comes to us and says, ‘I have a bunch of bitcoins to buy your products,’ first thing I’ll probably want to do is not turn them away but probably find a way to sell those bitcoins before I commit to the order and then really make sure we meet the needs of that customer.”