Bitcoin keeps gaining traction as an investment vehicle and has even made its way into the portfolios of Wall Street professionals. In 2013, Wells Fargo executives made their way to Fortress Investment Group’s headquarters in New York to discuss their desire to create a Bitcoin exchange that would be the first to be regulated. This project was seen as controversial, but Peter Briger, the co-chairman of the Fortress, believes in the enormous potential it may bring. Executives of several divisions of Wells Fargo made appearances at the meeting in Manhattan. The team that Fortress brought included many of the Silicon Valley experts that had gotten behind the technology and great investment opportunity early on.
Peter Briger pitched his plan to the group of a dozen people that were there in the conference room waiting to hear his ideas with a mix of excitement and hesitation. The Fortress team showed an immense interest in Bitcoin because it is not just a new form of currency it is also a low cost and quick way to transfer money anywhere around the globe without worrying about exchange rates or other issues that affect traditional currency. Peter Briger suggested to the team at Wells Fargo that they should be keeping a close eye on Bitcoin as it may rival or even replace other financial services in the near future. Some of these services may include the payment network that Wells Fargo provides to their clients.
Peter Briger first became interested in Bitcoin in early 2016 during a ski trip. Among the people on the trip were other financial experts who shared with Peter Briger how the technology worked. While many people only associated Bitcoin with shady online exchanges like the Silk Road, others knew that it had the potential to be much more than that in upcoming years. It didn’t make sense to Briger that technology allowed people to connect instantly by video to someone in another country, but did not allow them to send money easily. He saw Bitcoin as a solution to this that could possibly change the way the financial world operated.