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Barclays CEO Rules Out Cryptocurrency Trading Desk, For Now

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:07 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:07 PM

British banking giant Barclays isn’t immediately launching a dedicated cryptocurrency trading desk, CEO Jes Staley confirmed, while admitting to looking into cryptocurrency-related business opportunities.

The Barclays executive made the revelation in response to a question during the bank’s annual general meeting with shareholders on Tuesday, according to London-based publication Financial News .

Staley refuted recent rumors of ‘preliminary discussions’ wherein the bank was said to be gauging client interest in setting up a cryptocurrency trading desk of its own. As reported in mid-April, a Barclays spokesman said the bank ‘constantly monitor[s] developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market.’

The spokesman did state that the bank currently does not have any plans to open an exclusive crypto trading desk, a stance that has now been confirmed by Barclays’ chief executive despite admitting that Barclays was helping clients to settle bitcoin futures trading elsewhere.

In elaborating his response during yesterday’s AGM, Barclays CEO Staley added:

Cryptocurrency is a real challenge for us because, on the one hand, there is the innovative side of it wanting to stay in the forefront of technology’s improvement in finance. On the other side of it, there is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of.

Notably, Staley did confirm the bank’s foray into looking into cryptocurrency-related business opportunities whilst being wary of regulatory and compliance concerns.

Other traditional financial giants like investment bank Goldman Sachs are also rumored to be planning a trading desk offering cryptocurrencies for clients. In a televised appearance on CNBC last week, Nasdaq chief executive Adena Friedman revealed the world’s second-largest stock exchange would ‘consider becoming a cryptocurrency exchange, over time’ in a regulated market.

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