From luggage handling to in-flight entertainment, traveling could be given a much-needed upgrade with blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

This week marks a turning point for the bitcoin community. Bitcoin futures, aka traditional derivatives based on cryptocurrency, are now officially offered and traded by mainstream institutions such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Meanwhile, CoinDesk reported BitGo, a cryptocurrency wallet provider for enterprise players, just raised $42.5 million in a B series funding round. BitGo specializes in multi-signature wallet services, which offers a high level of security because theoretically multiple people have to sign off in order to transfer funds. The California-based company has raised more than $55 million since it was founded in 2013.

BitGo claims to process $8 billion worth of transactions per month. Its business, plus the expansion of enterprise services such as Coinbase Custody for institutional investors, is ushering in a new era of blockchain technology. “I think the entire industry has been focused on the consumer world for the last couple of years,” BitGo co-founder and CEO, Mike Belshe, told International Business Times. “Now what we’re seeing is a different area where asset managers or fund managers are helping manage literally millions to billions of dollars in cryptocurrency.”

Many experts argue bitcoin, the first blockchain-based digital currency, was invented precisely to cut out the financial market’s middlemen. The concept of relying on institutional parties to facilitate bitcoin transactions quintessentially contradicts the purpose of a decentralized currency. Despite all the hype surrounding bitcoin’s revolutionary potential, the facts are today hardware manufacturers such as Bitmain in China dominate global bitcoin mining while a few hundred “whales,” aka affluent early adopters, hold the vast majority of cryptocurrency wealth.

There are almost as many opinions about bitcoin’s potential, or lack thereof, as there are opinions about Jerusalem. If you mingle at a Wall Street party, cocktail in hand, it’s routine to hear professionals bragging about moonlight bitcoin conquests while simultaneously declaring digital currency too niche to offer real financial alternatives. Sure, CoinMarketCap estimates the cryptocurrency space currently has a global market cap of more than $444.9 billion. But global markets are typically measured in trillions. Governments that control fiat currencies, such as American dollars, also hold a variety of additional assets like real estate, which factor in to the trust people have in centralized currencies.

The growth of enterprise bitcoin services is thus a double-edged sword, boosting stability and respectability while hampering the technology’s added value. At the moment, outdated legal infrastructures are one of the biggest obstacles to bitcoin’s pragmatic use cases. However, some bitcoin veterans see new blockchain-based products wrapped in old school categories as a step toward mainstream users being able to value cryptocurrency by its own merits instead of measuring it in relatively stable dollars.

“Soon we will see physically settled futures,” Belshe said. “Once you have a physically settled product... the actual settlement can be done in kind instead of in cash.”

It’s still pretty tricky to manage one’s own blockchain-based assets. It takes a level of technical expertise and diligence that frankly, most people don’t want to spend time on. Many bitcoin users aspire to achieve financial sovereignty, managing their own digital assets directly. Yet other cryptocurrency newcomers prefer to trust professionals, the same way they already trust brokerage firms and investment managers, at least until digital currencies become a bit more user-friendly.

“I think on the consumer side, it [bitcoin] is going to continue to be very difficult to use for a while,” Belshe said. “Instead of trying to hold bitcoin directly, which is a daunting process due to its newness and its difficulty, a lot of consumers are going to be looking to institutional products where they can go to their brokers and buy something that gives them exposure to digital currencies without having to hold it directly themselves.”

BitGo supports six cryptocurrencies so far, including bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, bitcoin cash, litecoin and Royal Mint Gold. Belshe said BitGo plans to expand those options as more institutions join the cryptocurrency industry. “All of these other currencies add technical complexity that institutions, that want to offer products, need to be able to conquer. BitGo is providing the base level of security and safety is exactly what they need to go build their financial products on top of it,” he said. “2018 is going to be jam-packed.”