Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein is still not comfortable with bitcoin, but he says that he would not prevent the firm from establishing an institutional bitcoin trading desk.
Blankfein made these comments in an interview with CNBC, responding to rumors that Goldman Sachs is considering becoming the first blue-chip Wall Street firm to open a dedicated cryptocurrency trading desk.
“I will tell you, it hasn’t crossed my desk to set up a bitcoin trading desk,” he said, “but I wouldn’t preclude it.”
This openness to directly engaging with the bitcoin markets is significant, especially considering that Blankfein maintains that he is still not a believer in cryptocurrency technology. “I don’t trust it. I don’t like it. I’m not comfortable with it,” he said, adding elsewhere in the interview that “maybe bitcoin is kind of a bubble”.
But, mirroring comments he has made in the past, the investment banking executive says that he does not want to let his own personal discomfort prevent his firm from embracing new technology.
“I’m kind of an old dog to be absorbing that kind of a new trick,” he stated, noting that “the list of things that are conventional today that I use every day that I thought would never make it is a very long list.”
“If it works, I say to myself, ‘Hmmm, maybe that was a natural progression from hard money to fiat money to consensus money.’ So who’s to say,” he continued.
Blankfein’s cautious but humble approach to bitcoin stands in marked contrast with that of JPMorgan head Jamie Dimon, a habitual bitcoin basher who has made — and broken — vows to stop talking about bitcoin on multiple occasions.
If Goldman Sachs does open a bitcoin trading desk in the near- or mid-term, it would represent another significant milestone in the asset’s mainstream adoption, which had already taken a giant leap forward last week when U.S. derivatives exchange operator CME Group announced it would launch bitcoin futures contracts later this year.