Is Barclays Opening Crypto Trading? Bank and Traders Offer Differing Takes

Barclays FinTech
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Two bank employees have been working on setting up a new cryptocurrency trading desk in Barclays, one of the UK’s ‘Big Four’ banks.

At least, that’s what it says on their LinkedIn profiles. Business Insider reports that Chris Tyler’s profile stated that he’s been “hired to produce a business plan for integrating a digital assets trading desk into Barclays’ marketing business.”

It reportedly went on to say that revenue opportunity, competitive landscape, budgeting and planning for delivery, I.T. buildout, and capital and balance sheet impact were all areas Tyler had been tasked with addressing in the creation of the crypto trading desk.

The LinkedIn profile has since been edited and no longer contains this information at the time of writing – Tyler described the information as accurate, but declined to comment further on the matter. Matthieu Jobb Duval, a former Barclays oil trader, was listed as a consultant on the project.

However, while the staff profiles stated their roles in establishing the trading desk, a Barclays spokesperson said otherwise. After confirming that Duval and Tyler are Barclays employees, the spokesperson said that Barclays has no plans to set up a digital assets trading desk at this time.

The bank was rumored to be looking into such a project in April when Bloomberg reported that Barclays was actively gauging client interest in a crypto trading desk.

“We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market,” spokesman Andrew Smith said in an emailed statement.

For the time being, however, Barclays staff are remaining tight-lipped about whether their investigation yielded any interest. While it seems clear that the initial exploration of cryptocurrency prompted the bank to hire staff to map out a plan for a trading desk, the plan has either been scrapped or is being kept secret at this time.

Barclays isn’t the only major financial institutions to explore options in the world of cryptocurrency, with Goldman Sachs planning the launch of a Bitcoin trading desk, Morgan Stanley poaching a Bitcoin expert from banking giant Credit Suisse to head up a new cryptocurrency division, and JP Morgan appointing 29-year-old Oliver Harris as head of their new crypto-asset strategy division.

With ICE setting up a Bitcoin trading ecosystem called Bakkt and Bitcoin ETFs and custodianship on the way, it may be that the cryptocurrency space is finally on the verge of receiving the major institutional investments required to breathe new life into the marketplace and promote healthy growth in the value of cryptocurrencies.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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POSTED IN: Banking, News
Conor is a cryptocurrency journalist and an ICO writing consultant at The Written Craft content service. He's an advocate of decentralized public control of finance, an off-grid enthusiast, and really fun at parties too. Follow him on Twitter @iWriteCrypto to hear him roar.