US bank Goldman Sachs has launched a cryptocurrency trading team, as per a report this morning on news outlet CNBC.
Goldman Sachs just formed an entire cryptocurrency trading team under their Global Currencies divsion.
Last year, they called #bitcoin “not an asset class”
— Documenting Bitcoin 🟩 (@DocumentingBTC) May 7, 2021
From no crypto to trading Bitcoin
The bank famously referred to cryptocurrencies as “not an asset class” last year in a leaked slideshow, noting down five reasons for its conclusion. However, banks being banks go where the profits are, and they are right now in the crypto space.
The surprise move came today after Goldman informed its markets personnel that a new crypto trading desk had already traded two kinds of Bitcoin-linked derivatives. The latter are financial instruments that closely track the price movements of BTC without necessarily holding spot Bitcoin.
The crypto team exists within the firm’s global currencies and emerging markets trading division, reporting to Goldman partner Rajesh Venkataramani, who authored the memo, and is part of the bank’s overall digital assets effort led by Mathew McDermott.
Under CEO David Solomon, Goldman is seeking to broaden its market presence by “selectively onboarding” crypto trading institutions to expand offerings, the bank said in a memo.
The memo read, “We have successfully executed Bitcoin (BTC) NDFs and CME BTC future trades on a principal basis, all-cash settling. Looking ahead, as we continue to broaden our market presence, albeit, in a measured way, we are selectively onboarding new liquidity providers to help us in expanding our offering.”
It adds, “In addition, yesterday we launched our Digital Assets dashboard which provides daily and intraday cryptocurrency market data and news to our clients. We invite you to highlight the dashboard to your clients. For more information on trade approval and onboarding, contact the Digital Assets team.”
It, however, noted that spot trading is not on the cards:
“Please note, the firm is not in a position to trade bitcoin, or any cryptocurrency (including Ethereum) on a physical basis.”
As such, the move comes on the heels of banks like JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and others announcing their own plans to offer Bitcoin investments to clients amidst rising demand. They had themselves stayed out of the action so far, but today brings the reluctance to an end. At least for Goldman.
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