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Crypto market now worth more than top dozen largest banks combined

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The cryptocurrency market hit an all-time high on 3 November, 2021  (Getty Images)
The cryptocurrency market hit an all-time high on 3 November, 2021 (Getty Images)

The overall crypto market is now worth more than the top dozen of the world’s largest banks, after the price of several leading cryptocurrencies hit record highs on Wednesday.

All-time highs from Ethereum (ether) and Solana helped push the combined market cap of all cryptocurrencies above $2.75 trillion for the first time in its history, while bitcoin alone is now worth more than US giants like Meta (Facebook) and Tesla with a market cap above $1.19tn.

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In comparison, the world’s largest bank JPMorgan Chase has a market cap of $503 billion – $40 billion less than that of Ethereum’s.

Combined with the rest of the top 12 biggest banks around the globe gives an overall market cap of just under $2.7 trillion for the traditional finance leaders.

The cryptocurrency’s latest market cap record follows several months of astonishing growth, which have seen it add more than $1.5 trillion to its overall value since July.

It has been boosted by a resurgent bitcoin, which experienced a fresh all-time high in October, however it is the performance of other leading altcoins that is currently fuelling the climb.

After accounting for more than 80 per cent of the total crypto market capitalisation before 2017, bitcoin now makes up around just 40 per cent of the market, according to data from CoinMarketCap’s price index.

The world of traditional finance has remained largely resistant to cryptocurrencies, with only some major banks in the US and Europe offering crypto trading services to institutional clients.

Singapore’s DBS Group became one of the first to offer the service to wealthy clients, while other banks appear to be softening their stance for ordinary customers following increased competition from challenger banks.

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank, which is the world’s 12th largest, announced this week that it would offer a platform for retail customers to trade cryptocurrencies on its mobile banking app.

The bank’s chief executive Matt Comyn said: “We believe we can play an important role in crypto to address what’s clearly a growing customer need.”

Following its latest price high, Ethereum now ranks above every leading global bank in terms of market cap, as well as other traditional finance giants like Mastercard and Visa.

In a further merging of legacy and emerging financial technology, Mastercard recently announced plans to open up its payments infrastructure to crypto transactions “soon”, offering thousands of businesses and millions of customers access to cryptocurrency payments.

“We want to offer all of our partners the ability to more easily add crypto services to whatever they’re doing,” Sherri Haymond, Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital partnerships, said in a recent interview. “Our partners, be they banks, fintechs or merchants, can offer their customers the ability to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency.”

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