Wall Street
Bitcoin,  Innovators

How crypto could change when financial markets start trading

Why does Wall Street clock out at 4 p.m. every day?

John Zanni is President of Acronis, a data backup and cyber-protection company that makes broad use of blockchain technology to secure its’ customers’ data. As a business, Acronis isn’t interested in cryptocurrency but instead works closely with the technology that powers it. Acronis harnesses the blockchain’s ability to move and validate information.

While he does personally hold some bitcoin, Zanni says he only cares about cryptocurrency in the context of how it’s going to change the world. “Crypto markets run 24/7 while Wall Street shuts down at 5:00,” he said. “That tells me that sometime within our lifetimes, conventional trading will also be 24/7.”

Indeed, Wall Street’s buy-and-sell drama only takes place standard during the working hours of the working week. The cryptocurrency market, by comparison, is a nonstop up-and-down ride. Just as you can buy or sell crypto at any hour of day, the value of your holdings can fundamentally change while you sleep. The only issue is whether that change is a gain or loss.

Trading activity on the world’s commodities markets is generally nonstop, but today’s stock trading arenas of consequence all close between 3:00 p.m and 5:30 p.m. local time. Ian Domowitz of research agency Investment Technology Group told Marketwatch, “[There] are people all over the world wanting to buy wheat, [but] not everyone around the world wants to buy Chuck E. Cheese stock. At some level, it’s that simple.”

Zanni suggests this will change, and he puts it in cloud software terms.

“Just as everyone is going from on-premise perpetual licensing to hybrid cloud or subscription licensing, Bitcoin is this new 24/7 model,” he said. “Some traditional businesses are eventually going to figure out this is a better way to operate, so they’ll get more investors backing them.” A stock trading platform that ran 24/7 would simultaneously be more competitive and more convenient for investors.

Zanni’s timeline is uncertain, but he suggests that this change is looming on the horizon. “This won’t happen tomorrow or even next year,” he said, “but every indicator we see is that the world is about being constantly on, not about being off.”

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Dylan Love is an editorial consultant, contributing reporter, and fiendishly curious technology enthusiast. He owns no cryptocurrencies.