Wall Street embraces bitcoin and ethereum with the launch of new crypto indexes

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Investors can add bitcoin and ethereum to their portfolios through new cryptocurrency indexes available on Wall Street trading floors.

S&P Dow Jones on Tuesday announced the launch of three new indices tracking the performance of the two digital currencies — the S&P Bitcoin Index, S&P Ethereum Index, as well as its S&P Cryptocurrency MegaCap Index.

Additional cryptocurrencies will be added in the future, S&P Dow Jones said in a statement. The listed crypto indexes will track data from New-York based virtual-currency company Lukka.

The S&P Global division first announced its plans in December. "The cryptocurrency space is unlike traditional financial markets, and certainly unlike the ones we have benchmarked at S&P DJI over the last 100 years," Sharon Leibowitz, senior director of innovation and strategy, said in a statement.

Bitcoin rose 3% on Wednesday to around $55,300, while Ethereum's ether token rose 3% to $3,360.

"Traditional financial markets and digital assets are no longer mutually exclusive markets," Peter Roffman, global head of innovation and strategy at S&P DJI, said. "As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, investors now have access to reliable and transparent benchmarks backed by institutional quality pricing data."

After Coinbase's market debut, the launch of three crypto indexes is another major step towards mainstream adoption of digital currencies, as S&P DJI intends to index the top 550 cryptocurrencies.

It's only a matter of time before the first bitcoin ETF becomes available on US exchanges, according to industry experts.

 "S&P is not trying to legitimize bitcoin and ethereum or make them respectable," Vikram Rangala, chief operating officer at crypto exchange ZebPay, said. "They're acknowledging the fact that many of the world's leading companies already see crypto as a legitimate and respectable asset class that investors should at least watch, if not diversify into."

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