First Mover: Bitcoin’s Market Cap Eclipses Citigroup’s as Yellen Calls for Big-Bank Dividend Cuts

Bitcoin’s price drop since Friday has pushed the oldest and largest cryptocurrency back into the red for 2020.

But guess what bitcoin is still beating? Big U.S. bank stocks, which are suffering as coronavirus-related business disruptions, household lockdowns and rising unemployment eviscerate the economy, pushing up loan losses.

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JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, is down 26 percent this year, while Bank of America has fallen 29 percent, Wells Fargo has tumbled 38 percent and Citigroup has plunged 40 percent.

Bitcoin is down a comparatively paltry 6.4 percent on the year.

Bitcoin prices year to date. Source: CoinDesk

With governments and central banks around the world pledging trillions of dollars of emergency aid packages and money injections, bitcoin has garnered heightened investor attention lately as a potential hedge against inflation, a digital form of gold. The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet last week surged past $6 trillion for the first time in its 107-year history.

Yet when bitcoin was envisioned in a 2008 white paper by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, the original intended purpose was as a peer-to-peer electronic payment system that could bypass financial institutions.

And it’s that original use case that prompted TradeBlock, a cryptocurrency research firm, to take a look last week at how the cryptocurrency is performing versus bank stocks. The topic could come under heightened focus this week as JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank, reports earnings for the first quarter.

“Interestingly, while market prices of the large banks and even payment processors saw a lack of investor confidence during the past several…

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