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Ken Griffin, the Citadel securities founder, compares the crypto value to abstract art

Ken Griffin
TL;DR Breakdown
  • Ken Griffin, the Citadel securities founder, compares the crypto value to abstract art in his recent discussion on the crypto market.
  • Griffin`s view on the crypto industry takes a positive turn.

Ken Griffin, the founder of Citadel Securities, has compared cryptocurrency to abstract art, saying that both get based on the subjective eye of the beholder. Citadel Securities is one of the world’s largest market-maker firms. On Monday, Ken Griffin said he foresees the firm entering the cryptocurrency sector as a liquidity provider and an exchange.

Ken Griffin’s change of heart towards crypto investments

The billionaire investor Ken Griffin, named by Forbes to be worth roughly $26 billion, has made several anti-crypto remarks in the past. However, Griffin’s views appear to have evolved.

According to reports last year by Bloomberg, hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin criticized the amount of time and effort spent on cryptocurrencies, calling it a “jihadist call” that others don’t believe in the dollar.

Griffin has long been a crypto skeptic. In 2018, he ranted about the appeal of cryptocurrencies to younger investors rather than companies that contribute to economic development, calling it a huge problem.

However, in March 2022, Ken Griffin became the latest billionaire to admit he was wrong about crypto. According to an interview with Bloomberg, Griffin said that cryptocurrencies’ rise over the last 15 years is one of the best financial stories of the last century. He added that the crypto market is worth approximately $2 trillion in round figures. Furthermore, he stated that he had made a mistake in his cryptocurrency investment decisions.

Mr. Griffin’s wariness of cryptocurrencies may have been a factor in his participation in the sale of one of the only remaining genuine copies of the U.S. Constitution, which took place at Sotheby’s. His main opponent was a decentralized autonomous organization or DAO, and a crypto collective formed expressly to compete in the auction that he won.

Speaking about the value of crypto at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles on May 2, Ken Griffin compared it to his collection of “American abstract art.” He said that:

Why is a painting worth $10 million? It’s oil on canvas. So value is in the eyes of the beholder [..] Given the institutional increase in interest in cryptocurrency, I think it’s reasonable to expect to see us be more involved in the crypto space providing liquidity to institutional and potentially retail investors.

Ken Griffin

Citadel securities’ future in the crypto industry

While some market makers – firms that provide market liquidity by streaming buy and sell quotations for others to trade against, such as Jump Trading and DRW – have enthusiastically embraced the new asset class, Citadel Securities has mainly been uninterested.

However, on Monday, Ken Griffin stated that while he is wary of cryptocurrencies, he must accept the fact that an asset’s value is based on what people believe it to be worth. Citadel Securities, valued at nearly $22 billion after a funding round in January, is taking its time to enter the crypto market because it wants to establish extremely high criteria around anti-money-laundering and other issues.

Although Griffin may never fully embrace it, he appears to be content to sit on the fence as his market-making firm tries to provide crypto services. In terms of the firm’s attitudes towards cryptocurrency, Ken Griffin called it an interesting hotspot debate. He stated that the younger members of his staff are pushing for Citadel to take a position.

To be more specific, the firm will aim to help stabilize the cryptocurrency market. Still, Citadel Securities believes that crypto exchange technology is exceptionally vital in connecting buyers and sellers.

All my colleagues who are younger than I am, probably think I’m a dinosaur on this issue. They’re big believers. They believe that cryptocurrency has an important role in the global economy to facilitate payment in a web3 world.

Ken Griffin

Yet, despite this fact, Griffin stressed that the firm would take its time to do thorough research before making any concrete decisions. He placed particular emphasis on the possible risk of North Korea.

Despite his fairly moderate remarks on this most recent occasion, Mr. Griffin managed to include a fairly scathing barb at Bitcoin. Ken Griffin believes that it’s simple for him to see how firms like Amazon and Apple have benefited customers with their services and products, but he isn’t so sure about Bitcoin.

These are businesses that have really, clearly changed the world for the better. I’m still looking for that story of how crypto has made the world so much better. I’m looking at stories about how Bitcoin consumes as much power as a small country.

Ken Griffin
Florence Muchai

Florence Muchai

Florence is a crypto enthusiast and writer who loves to travel. As a digital nomad, she explores the transformative power of blockchain technology. Her writing reflects the limitless possibilities for humanity to connect and grow.

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