A new survey polling bank executives and financial professionals found that half believe bitcoin will outperform the S&P 500 next year. 

According to a survey conducted by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, 48% of the financial professionals polled said bitcoin will be the investment class with the highest growth rate over the next 12 months. The Chainalysis study asked more than 350 finance professionals, including bank and credit union executives, which asset class was likely to be the top performer next year. 

While half said that bitcoin would be the top-performing asset, one-third of respondents predicted equities (S&P 500) to be the leading investment class, followed by “fixed income (Bloomberg Barclays Bond Index) and the House Pricing Index (HPI) at 13% and 5%, respectively.”

Despite high expectations for bitcoin, financial providers said that retail engagement was low. The majority of respondents said less than half of their clients were involved in crypto, with one-quarter of respondents saying that less than 10% of their clients invested in the asset class. 

Chainalysis CEO Michael Gronager commented on the gap between investor expectation and reality, 

Many finance professionals understand that cryptocurrency presents a massive opportunity, yet institutions are hesitant to enter the market due to perceived risk and some don't even realize the exposure that they already have to cryptocurrency.

The potential for illicit activity was cited as the primary barrier for professionals getting involved in crypto-assets, with one-quarter of respondents claiming the market wasn’t yet big enough.

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