Business 21 May 2018

Erik Gibbs

Could Goldman Sachs develop more crypto offerings in the wake of CEO’s retirement?

First, Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein said, “No way; we don’t even talk about it” to cryptocurrency. Then, the company launched a cryptocurrency trading desk. Soon after, there were talks that the financial powerhouse was even considering launching its own digital currency. Now, the 63-year-old financier has announced that he will retire from the company, and things could get really interesting.

Blankfein announced last week that he will more than likely leave the company after its annual dinner for retired partners in December. Despite the apparent increased attention to the cryptocurrency industry, he hasn’t exactly warmed up to the space as have others. Nonetheless, he’s been intelligent enough to recognize that he’s not always right, and that he wouldn’t allow his personal opinions to get in the way of the company’s operations.

Last November, Blankfein seemed extremely unsure about crypto, calling it at one point “the next step” in money’s evolution only to switch gears and call it a “complete fraud” later the same month. Six months later, the company is embarked on a mission to introduce cryptocurrency trading products and there’s little doubt that it will stay the course. GS is moving toward cryptocurrency offerings due to customer demand and, as the space continues to mature, it would be foolish to backtrack.

David Soloman, who currently serves as the company’s president, will more than likely be named as the new CEO. He has been responsible for turning the company around to become one of the top ranked firms on Wall Street for corporate merger and acquisition advising. However, this is only a small part of the company’s portfolio. Since 2017, Soloman has been working on a plan that would generate billions of dollars in revenue, including an expansion of operations into midsize cities, a larger online lending presence and more trading for large corporations.

Soloman has already begun to structure a new senior management team, with three contenders for the soon vacated president spot. John Waldron, who co-heads the firm’s investment banking division, is one of them, along with Eric S. Land and Stephen M. Scherr. Scherr oversees the consumer banking division while Land co-heads the investment banking division.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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