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‘Evolve & Adapt’: Goldman Sachs May Trade Cryptocurrencies, Not Just Futures

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:09 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:09 PM

Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs is getting more serious about launching a full-scale cryptocurrency trading operation.

Speaking with Bloomberg , Goldman Sachs COO David Solomon said that the firm is holding internal discussions about offering more cryptocurrency trading services in response to client demand.

“We are clearing some futures around Bitcoin, talking about doing some other activities there, but it’s going very cautiously,” Solomon said during an interview in China. “We’re listening to our clients and trying to help our clients as they’re exploring those things too.”

Goldman Sachs was one of the first institutions to clear bitcoin futures for clients following the launch of these products in December, but — aside from indirect exposure via investments in cryptocurrency startups such as Circle — the firm had been reluctant to dip more than just its toe into the ecosystem.

However, that appears to be changing, even though the cryptocurrency market has experienced a steep decline from its all-time high.

In Solomon’s words, the firm must “evolve its business and adapt to the environment,” which may involve offering more digital currency products.

Last month, Goldman Sachs confirmed that it will launch a bitcoin trading desk, an admission that came following months of denials from CEO and sometime crypto-skeptic Lloyd Blankfein.

Initially, the firm is offering clients a type of proprietary bitcoin futures contract called a non-deliverable forward. Goldman has also said that it may seek regulatory approval to trade actual bitcoins — often ironically called “physical bitcoin” — in the future.

Solomon did not reveal what other products or services that the bank is considering offering to clients, but, judging from reports coming out of some its rivals, it would not be surprising if the firm is exploring launching a custodial product.

Notably, Solomon is widely viewed as the frontrunner to replace Blankfein, who is rumored to be preparing to resign in December, as CEO. Blankfein has denied those reports, but — observers note — he also denied reports about the bitcoin trading desk.

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