Majority of global CFOs will never buy bitcoin: Gartner survey

  • Volatility was the top concern by a large margin, but other big issues that respondents had were board risk aversion, slow adoption as an accepted form of payment, regulatory concerns, and a lack of expertise in cryptocurrencies, the survey revealed.

Abhinav Kaul
Published17 Feb 2021, 05:39 PM IST
The crypto asset’s surge to the $40,000 levels earlier this year had come on the back of demand from retail investors. Photo: Reuters
The crypto asset’s surge to the $40,000 levels earlier this year had come on the back of demand from retail investors. Photo: Reuters

The recent $1.5-billion bet by the US electric car-maker Tesla Inc notwithstanding, a majority of global finance executives, including chief financial officers, have said they do not plan to ever hold bitcoin as a corporate asset, according to a survey by Gartner Inc.

Tesla on 8 February 2021 had disclosed that it had parked $1.5-billion worth of spare cash in bitcoin last month, making it by far the biggest company to invest in the digital asset. Bitcoin had surged 18% reacting to the news. Moreover, US-based enterprise software company MicroStrategy Inc on Tuesday said it will buy additional bitcoin. The company is already holding around 72,000 units of bitcoin worth around $3.6 billion.

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These developments are a departure from a usual trend where companies invest their cash in high-quality instruments that are relatively safe and give lower returns.

According to the survey, while the world’s oldest cryptocurrency continues to grow in popularity and as well as prices, a poll of 77 finance executives, including 50 chief financial officers (CFOs) this month showed that 84% of respondents said will not buy bitcoin. Moreover, just 5% of the finance executives polled said they planned to hold bitcoin as a corporate asset in 2021.

Even the 16% of respondents willing to adopt the cryptocurrency as part of their organization’s financial strategy appeared in no rush. “Five per cent of respondents indicated they would begin to hold bitcoin in 2021, 1% said they’d hold bitcoin at some point in 2022-2023, and the remaining 9% who indicated they would begin holding bitcoin said it would be 2024 or later,” Gartner said in a report, which was released on Tuesday.

The crypto asset’s surge to the $40,000 levels earlier this year had come on the back of demand from retail investors, while the recent interest from institutions was the key force behind’s bitcoin rise above the $50,000 level for the first time on Tuesday. The digital currency continued to rise on Wednesday and hit a fresh lifetime high of $51,615.93, up 5% at around 5pm IST, according to cryptocurrency tracker CoinGecko.

However, according to experts, further bitcoin rally may depend on more institutions adopting into their ecosystems.

“Eighty-four per cent of the respondents said that bitcoin’s volatility posed a financial risk. It would be extremely difficult to mitigate the kind of price swings seen in the cryptocurrency in the last five years,” said Alexander Bant, chief of research in the Gartner Finance practice.

Volatility was the top concern by a large margin, but other big issues that respondents had were board risk aversion, slow adoption as an accepted form of payment, regulatory concerns, and a lack of expertise in cryptocurrencies.

“There are a lot of unresolved issues when it comes to the use of bitcoin as a corporate asset,” said Bant. “It’s unlikely that adoption will increase rapidly until we get more clarity on these challenges.”

However, driven by the developments such as MasterCard, PayPal and Apple starting to accept payments in bitcoin, industry professionals are bullish on the digital asset.

“In the last few hours, a lot major developments happened in the crypto world. Continuing its unshakable faith in bitcoin, Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy is doubling down on bitcoin and plans to invest an additional $600 million. German Giant Deutsche Bank is also exploring cryptocurrency custody,” said Ashish Singhal, chief executive officer and co-founder, CoinSwitch Kuber, cryptocurrency investment platform.

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First Published:17 Feb 2021, 05:39 PM IST
HomeMoneyPersonal FinanceMajority of global CFOs will never buy bitcoin: Gartner survey

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