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Rumours fuelling crypto rally get debunked, leaving enthusiasts deflated
[NEW YORK] Cryptocurrency enthusiasts at this year's Consensus conference might feel disappointed that some of the most optimistic speculation underpinning surging token prices isn't panning out.
Gossip about greater mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies, some of which emerged at the Consensus conference in New York, helped fuel the rally in crypto prices this week.
Investors were speculating that companies like EBay and trading platform TD Ameritrade Holding could be some of the latest to break into the crypto or blockchain space.
But, so far, the expectations have proven to be unfounded.
"That's the interesting thing about crypto," said Roshan Mirajkar, co-founder of KoinStreet, a trading network. "It's hard to differentiate what's a rumour and what news is sometimes."
In what would have been a major mainstream breakthrough, EBay was purported to be entering the crypto universe. Signage at this year's Consensus conference had many believing that the company was going to accept virtual currencies for payments.
"Cryptocurrency is not accepted as a form of payment on the eBay platform, nor is it part of our payments strategy," said a company spokesperson on Monday in response to the building speculation.
Companies like EBay are "doing more of a marketing effort and not being more direct about it", said Mr Mirajkar. "It's gotten too large for them to ignore yet I don't think they know the right path forward."
Gossip also heated up about TD Ameritrade, which was rumoured to be testing Bitcoin and Litecoin spot trading on its platform. The buzz could be traced back to a single tweet, which many enthusiasts took as further signage that the institutional world was more fully embracing cryptocurrencies.
"Currently we're not. We have what we call paperMoney, which is what our clients can try for trading strategies," Sunayna Tuteja, head of digital assets at TD Ameritrade, said in an interview.
"It was a simulation. So there was no actual execution."
TD Ameritrade, which holds around US$1.3 trillion in assets, already allows brokerage clients with a minimum account balance of US$25,000 to trade Bitcoin futures.
But its paperMoney product enables clients and non-clients to practise trading in live situations without putting any money on the line.
"Everybody has this envisioned future, waiting to see that envisioned future happening," said Yoni Assia, chief executive of trading platform eToro.
"And they're reading the news asking ‘Has the future already come?' To find out, not today.''