Although Goldman Sachs’ CEO is an outspoken critic of the cryptocurrency movement, the company has made the decision to launch its own bitcoin trading desk. According to a report yesterday by the New York Times, the financial giant plans to begin using its own money to trade with clients in a variety of contracts linked to the price of bitcoin.
While many in the cryptocurrency industry highlight this news as apart of the long-term bullish thesis, the firm itself is far more cautious with heading into its big transition. Rana Yared, one of the executives overseeing the new trading operation, expressed his concerns to the New York Times.
“I would not describe myself as a true believer who wakes up thinking Bitcoin will take over the world. For almost every person involved, there has been personal skepticism brought to the table.”
Nonetheless, the bank feels comfortable enough to push forward after concluding that Bitcoin is, in fact, not a fraud and should not be classified as a currency. However, Yared admits that a major driver behind the decision was the growing pressure from the bank’s clients, who are interested in holding Bitcoin in a similar manner to precious metals.
“It resonates with us when a client says, ‘I want to hold Bitcoin or Bitcoin futures because I think it is an alternate store of value.”
While internal sentiment has been less than positive, Goldman has so far done quite a bit for clients interested in digital assets by clearing trades on Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange. In the next few weeks, the bank plans on using its own money to trade Bitcoin futures on behalf of clients, while also rolling out a more flexible trading vehicle called a non-deliverable forward.
This news comes shortly after speculation dropped that other big brokerage firms, including Morgan Stanley, are preparing to open dedicated cryptocurrency desks. Additionally, recent reports indicate that Coinbase has plans to begin offering block trades for institutional clients and that Billionaire Peter Thiel has backed a startup that is building trading tools to aggregate OTC markets and dark pools to provide investors with large block trades.