Most big banks have tried to stay clear of the virtual currency Bitcoin, but Goldman Sachs, is bucking the trend and moving ahead with plans to set up what appears to be the first Bitcoin trading operation at a Wall Street bank.
According to a report by The New York Times, the decentralized currency market has faced hitches breaking into the mainstream financial industry, as major hacks and countless scandals hit the burgeoning digital asset class. However, a move by one of the most storied names in finance could be a light in a tunnel for the legitimacy of the crypto space as well as bitcoin, the world’s largest virtual coin by market capitalization.
Goldman plans to roll out a number of derivatives that will allow customers to buy contracts related to price fluctuations in Bitcoin, and from reports gathered it also aims to create more flexible type of futures product, called a non-deliverable forward, down the line. The products will only be available to big institutional investors.The decision to introduce such products comes after Goldman concluded that there was demand from its customers to hold cryptos as a commodity similar to gold; (source the business insider).
Earlier this month, Goldman hired former cryptocurrency trader Justin Schmidt as head of digital asset markets in a move seen as facilitating the firm on its path to offering clients more exposure to cryptocurrencies. Rana Yared, one of the Goldman executives responsible for overseeing the new trading operation’s launch, told the Times that the bank is well aware of the risks associated with getting into crypto trading. Meanwhile, many other big banks have taken a negative approach toward cryptos, with Nordea prohibiting its employees from trading cryptos, JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, calling Bitcoin a fraud, and Barclays denying having plans to launch a crypto desk.
As such, Goldman might not see that much competition in the crypto space from other big banks in the near future possibly. However, it should be kept in mind that there are other players looking to enter the space in the next couple of years.