Wall Street is about to embrace bitcoin in a big way, said Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of SecondMarket.
"We are in the early stages of this institutional money buying bitcoin and finding digital currencies as a new asset class," he said at the Exponential Finance conference on Wednesday.
Silbert's firm already has partnered with Fidelity Investments so that Fidelity's customers can invest funds from their self-directed IRAs in SecondMarket's Bitcoin Investment Trust.
Silbert, who is a bitcoin investor, said there are essentially five phases to the digital revolution in currency.
The first phase was in 2008 when value started being associated with the digital currency. The second, "early adopter" phase began in 2011. Businesses began developing around its infrastructure—including mining operations, merchant processing and exchanges.
We are currently in stage three, Silbert said, which is the capital phase. This phase started in 2013, when venture capital money started pouring into bitcoin start-ups.
Bitcoin will enter the fourth phase this year, which is the "Wall Street phase," he said.