The Role Of Institutional Investors In Crypto

The emergence of cryptocurrencies has attracted the attention of institutional investors, marking an important change in the landscape of financial investments. What is an institutional investor? It may be an entity — a bank, hedge fund, or pension fund — representing a substantial and influential segment of the financial ecosystem. Their entry into the cryptocurrency market holds significant weight, potentially changing its dynamics and future trajectory.

Crypto trading for institutions is differentiated by considerable financial resources, expertise, and a level of credibility that can increase the legitimacy and stability of the crypto sector. Their involvement signifies a transition from a volatile and speculative environment to one that is more structured and regulatory compliant.

What is the Difference Between Institutional vs Retail Investors?

Who are institutional investors? To understand it better, let’s compare them with individual investors.

Compliance and governance:

  • Institutional investors are subject to a stricter regulatory environment and must adhere to more rigorous compliance and governance standards. One of them is AML check online. Due to the larger scale of their operations and the fact that they manage funds on behalf of others, institutions demand greater transparency and accountability. AML check meaning lies in ensuring compliance with legal standards and safeguarding against the risk of engaging in transactions associated with criminal activities. This process is crucial for operating within the regulatory framework and preserving trust in their investment strategies.
  • Retail investors. While also subject to regulations, retail investors face fewer compliance requirements. The structures governing their investment activities are less complex, primarily because these investors manage their own funds, and their investment decisions have less potential to impact the broader market.

Asset custody:

  • Institutional Investors typically engage third-party custodians to protect their assets. These custodians are specialized entities that offer security, operational efficiency, and compliance with regulatory standards. They ensure that institutional investors’ portfolios are managed with the highest level of diligence.
  • Retail investors, on the other hand, may use brokerage accounts to hold their assets. Their investments are usually less complex and smaller in scale, reducing the necessity for specialized custody services. The custody solutions available to retail investors are generally more straightforward and less costly.


  • Institutions in crypto often have access to more sophisticated risk management tools and strategies. Their larger portfolios allow them to diversify more effectively, spreading risk across a wider array of assets. Moreover, they typically employ teams of professionals focused on analyzing and reducing risks. Institutions often act on behalf of their clients, using their funds for investments.
  • Retail investors generally have a higher risk tolerance but may have less capacity to absorb losses. Their approach to risk is often less sophisticated. Individual traders use only their own funds for investments.


  • Crypto institutional investors deploy complex, data-informed methods for trading and investing. With greater financial resources, institutions can tap into premium financial insights and leverage top-tier research for more nuanced decisions. Institutions employ automated systems to streamline their trading activities.
  • Typically, retail investors adopt a basic buy-and-sell approach. Since they have a higher risk tolerance, they tend to follow short-term strategies.

Investment size:

  • The investment size of Bitcoin institutional investors is significantly larger, often running into millions or billions of dollars. This substantial capital base allows them to exert considerable influence on the markets and access investment opportunities unavailable to smaller investors.
  • Retail investors operate on a much smaller scale, with investments often measured in thousands rather than millions of dollars. Their smaller investment size limits their market influence and access to specific investment opportunities.

What Is Holding Institutional Crypto Investors Back?

Many institutional investors hesitate to invest in the crypto sector due to the lack of clear regulations. The absence of clear guidelines creates uncertainty and caution among institutions, as they prefer to avoid potential conflicts with regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Liquidity is another critical concern for these investors. With their significant capital at hand, they require guarantees of market liquidity to conduct transactions quickly and effectively.

Although substantial, the cryptocurrency market is small compared to the total value of global equities and bonds markets. This indicates that significant investments from institutional players can have a disproportionate impact on cryptocurrency prices, which can lead to market instability.

Market manipulation tactics and unethical trading practices within the crypto space raise alarms. It creates the need for robust measures to combat such issues before institutions can confidently invest larger sums.

Bottom Line

The involvement of institutional investors in crypto trading is a notable development that can positively impact the crypto sector. These investors can bring more financial resources, expertise, and credibility, leading to a more structured and regulatory-compliant environment. Institutional investors’ involvement can also increase the legitimacy and stability of the crypto market, attracting more investors and propelling mainstream adoption.