GameStop and Bitcoin Renewed a Push to Digitize the Stock Market

Imagine a world the place you could possibly purchase shares, bonds, derivatives, cryptocurrencies and even items of artwork, all on one trade, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from anyplace in the world.

On this trade, trades happen straight between two traders as an alternative of by way of a advanced latticework of brokers, clearinghouses and different middlemen and gatekeepers. They settle, or shut, nearly immediately, as an alternative of taking on to two days. The system is cheaper, extra clear and ostensibly extra open. It can be doubtlessly extra risky and dangerous for traders; earnings can flip into losses in the wink of a watch at any time of the day or evening.

Entrepreneurs have for years dreamed of using blockchain technology, the ideas and software program underpinning bitcoin, to allow digital buying and selling of just about any asset. Today the thought appears much less far-fetched than ever.

When buying and selling of videogame retailer GameStop Corp. exploded earlier this year, it illustrated simply how fragile immediately’s markets could be. It additionally confirmed that a new technology of inventory merchants operates very like crypto merchants: Flash mobs of retail traders gathering on social media and focusing on an asset for a mass-buy has been a hallmark of cryptocurrency buying and selling for years.

The present capital markets aren’t constructed for that type of buying and selling, however a variety of pilot packages and different experiments are investigating how to create digitized markets that may sustain with altering occasions. “We’re seeing a tectonic shift start to happen,” says Jeffrey Schumacher, the founding father of New Asset Exchange, a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based startup that goals to assist corporations create and promote digital securities.

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