Cryptocurrency may still be too speculative or volatile for many but it presents opportunities other than direct investment, according to The Wall Street Journal’s “Heard on the Street” column.

Cryptocurrency’s viability as an investment may not be in its value as an asset but in the way the financial world is evolving because of it, the influential column argues.

The 40% rise in PayPal’s share price since it introduced its crypto service is an example of how crypto can “move the needle” in the financial system and how investors can profit without actually gaining direct exposure, the column’s author, Telos Demos, argues.

Rather than buying cryptocurrency itself, investors may instead look to firms who facilitate the buying and selling of crypto. Coinbase’s $77 billion valuation ahead of its public may appear particularly enticing.

The column points to another example in the surging shares of Silvergate Capital, the price of which has risen more than 100% in 2021. Silvergate, which serves crypto firms as a core part of its business, enjoyed a huge increase in customer deposits in the second half of 2020, though analysts have questioned the extent to which this is sustainable in the longer term.

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However, even if the revenue from buying and selling crypto itself stays small, analysts are bullish about the long-term prospects of companies that can attract younger users and harness that loyalty with products and services across all areas of finance including banking and lending.

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