Wall Street Turbocharges Bitcoin's Wild Rally and Rakes In Cash

To Jamie Dimon, it's no better than a “pet rock.” To the late Charlie Munger, longtime lieutenant to Warren Buffett, it's “massively stupid.” And to US Senator Elizabeth Warren, it's a great tool if you’re a terrorist, drug dealer or fraudster.

Perhaps. But here's something else about Bitcoin: It’s not going away anytime soon. And what was once almost universal resistance to it on Wall Street is disappearing day by day.

As the cryptocurrency skyrocketed in recent weeks back to lofty levels that had shocked the old guard years earlier -- first $40,000, then $50,000, then, just days later, $60,000 -- it became clear to many pundits that the underlying demand from people young and old, rich and poor, is simply too robust and steady to allow Bitcoin to collapse as the cornerstone of an asset class. Not even the rapid rise in US interest rates -- long seen as a potential death knell for Bitcoin -- was enough to curb the enthusiasm for long.

“Doesn't matter what Jamie Dimon or Elizabeth Warren, his good buddy, said,” Michael Novogratz, the billionaire founder and chief executive officer of Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd. and one of Bitcoin’s most long-standing supporters, said in an interview. “A lot of people believe there's value here.”

This relentless demand has created an urgent dilemma for the investing industry. The legacy titans can continue to shun the famously volatile and scandal-prone asset even when it’s served in the new regulatory-friendly ETF wrapper. This is the approach that Vanguard, an uber-conservative shop, is taking. Or they can give their clients what they want, regardless of the long list of risks. Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo & Co. are among the latest firms taking that route, giving some brokerage clients access to new Bitcoin exchange-traded funds while stopping short of allowing their advisers to recommend them.

Bitcoin's Steady Climb Since ETF Debut