I’ve been to quite a few bitcoin gatherings, where the standard attire is a sweaty T-shirt and sneakers. This week’s Digital Currencies conference in New York was different. It felt more like a Wall Street confab than the usual fellowship of the neckbeards.
The suits were out in full force at the bitcoin convention on July 29, organized by American Banker. In attendance were representatives from Visa, Citigroup and other financial institutions.
The professionals there were by no means bitcoin faithful. Most bankers’ views on the digital currency — or virtual commodity, depending on who you ask — ranged from puzzled to noncommittal. Lester Joseph, manager of the global financial crimes intelligence group at Wells Fargo, said the bank doesn’t have a grand plan for bitcoin.
“We don’t really have a strategy,” Joseph said during a panel called the Nexus Between Banking and Bitcoin Companies. “We just try to understand it and try to manage the risk.”