How investors can approach cryptocurrencies and other digital assets within their portfolios will be a key issue at Consensus: Invest 2018, taking place in New York City on Tuesday, Nov. 27. CoinDesk CEO Kevin Worth gave SmartBrief an overview of the event, where industry leaders are set to provide expert insight on that topic and many others.
Digital assets represent an area of rapid change and growth. What are some of the hottest topics on this year’s agenda?
We’re seeing a lot of discussion about how the asset actually fits within portfolios. Ric Edelman is giving a presentation on how to include crypto in your portfolio. Josh Brown from Ritholtz Wealth Management is leading a session with wealth managers discussing how they can be prepared to handle questions from clients and, again, how to allocate the asset in portfolios. Portfolio allocation and a discussion of crypto-economics is an increasingly important topic as we look into 2019.
A wide range of investors is taking an interest in digital assets. Who is Consensus: Invest geared toward, and who can glean the most insight from the event?
Consensus: Invest is geared toward the professional investor — portfolio managers, wealth managers, family offices, hedge funds, etc. What’s interesting is that bitcoin and the other digital assets were one of the rare asset classes to be experimented with by the retail investor prior to the institutional investor. We’re now seeing — and we created Consensus: Invest to support — this rapidly arriving professional investor, who needs more advanced information to make investment decisions.
This year’s agenda reflects issues affecting digital assets internationally, in places such as Europe and China. How important are these issues given the regulations emerging in various jurisdictions?
Each jurisdiction is working on its own regulatory frameworks for this asset class. Some, such as in China, have taken a more restrictive approach, whereas there are parts of Europe that have been very welcoming to the asset class. In the United States even, there is discussion around whether these assets are securities, commodities, property, currencies or something else entirely. Naturally, this regulatory uncertainty leaves investors questioning whether they should participate. At Consensus: Invest, we hope to start answering some of these questions. Jay Clayton, the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, will be joining a fireside chat with Glenn Hutchins from North Island and Silver Lake to discuss the asset in more depth.
One panel will focus on Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt. What might the upcoming launch, and its delay, say about the level of demand as well as the challenges and potential of bitcoin futures trading?
Last year, we were excited to see both CME and the Cboe launching futures products. This year, seeing the Intercontinental Exchange launch Bakkt is a true testament to the fact that the institutional community continues to innovate in this asset class. But if we step back, one of the reasons the SEC rejected a Bitcoin ETF was out of concern around market manipulation. Products like the bitcoin-settled futures that Bakkt is working on can help expand the market size and alleviate much of that market manipulation concern.
Are there any other sessions of note that you are particularly excited to have on this year’s agenda?
A core objective for our events is to facilitate substantive discussions with industry leaders. At Consensus: Invest, we have the most relevant topics being addressed by the most prominent investors and analysts in Wall Street and crypto. Whether it’s Edelman in the morning or Clayton later in the day, investors are going to gain a lot of insight into what different participants and regulators are thinking. You won’t want to miss Going Full Crypto with Caitlin Long and Anthony Pompliano. And since we talked about the Bitcoin ETF, Jan van Eck from VanEck Securities is going to be talking about other financial products that can be launched around this asset class at the end of the day. The reality is that this asset class continues to evolve, and for investors looking for an outlook for 2019, this is a great opportunity to learn more.