Peter Briger, co-founder of the New York investment group Fortress, had a conference in the winter of 2013 in his headquarters with several executives from Wells Fargo where he discussed the possibilities of the digital currency Bitcoin. In that conference, Peter Briger brings up a major benefit of Bitcoin, which is its “ability to send money instantaneously”, as Wells Fargo’s own payment network services are currently being challenged by the instantaneous results provided by digital currencies like Bitcoin.
While Wells Fargo was, in the end, reluctant to open up to digital currency due to its shaky performance overall, and while Fortress had to scale back its plans for Bitcoin as a result of Wells Fargo’s indecision, it nonetheless allows Peter Briger to bring Wall Street closer to seizing the opportunities of Bitcoin in the near future.
Even the road to this initial conference between Fortress and Wells Fargo wasn’t simple and easy. It was only on January 2013 when Peter Briger began his interest in Bitcoin due to a meeting he had with Wences Casares, a successful entrepreneur for startup companies, among other entrepreneurs about the same benefits and possibilities of Bitcoin. Convinced of the vast superiority of the efficiency of sending Bitcoin via a renegade exchange network, compared to established currencies through traditional financial institutions, Peter Briger went ahead the following summer of 2013 to have professional traders buy Bitcoin to set up a fund for Fortress in the near future.
During that period, Briger attempted to have his first meeting with Wells Fargo about Bitcoin, only for the institution to deny any partnership with Fortress due to federal agents seizing Wells Fargo bank accounts a few months prior from Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange network. But after a Senate hearing about how digital currency can be used for legitimate purposes, Wells Fargo reconsidered the partnership with Fortress, hence the meeting that happened that winter of 2013. While that meeting was inconclusive at best, and while an eventual change on Wells Fargo’s part will likely be slow and arduous, it is a welcome first step in the right direction for Briger to have Wall Street be open to accepting these digital currencies along with the benefits they provide for traders and investors. Peter Briger is one of Forbes 400’s business professionals and has been made a billionaire during his tenure at Fortress through his expertise in distressed debt and illiquid investments in addition to helping foreign markets raise capital. Prior to Fortress, he worked at Goldman-Sachs where he had a reputation for honing and developing a skill set comprising of foreign investments, distressed debt, real estate and loans and trading, with which he was able to increase Fortress’ assets to around $65 million after leaving Goldman-Sachs. Engaged in philanthropy, he is passionate about alleviation of poverty and providing quality education, among other social causes. As a successful financier and caring philanthropist, he is likely to succeed in bringing Wall Street to Bitcoin, despite the challenges he faces.