Business 3 May 2018Gerald Fenech
Goldman Sachs gearing up to launch Bitcoin futures
Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs is taking a step into the cryptocurrency space as it looks to launch its own Bitcoin (BTC) futures product soon, The New York Times reported.
The bank will reportedly use its own funds to trade the futures in the cryptocurrency, although these will be on behalf of its clients. It is intriguing that Goldman will be taking this step as it has pronounced itself rather against BTC and the larger cryptocurrency market in the past.
BTC futures are a slightly controversial product since they seem to centralize the movement of the cryptocurrency, which was founded on the very principle of decentralization. In fact, several cryptocurrency enthusiasts have blamed the introduction of BTC futures in December for the massive fall in the value of the cryptocurrency market in January, when prices dropped by as much as 70% in some cases. However, other analysts said the futures market has given some legitimacy to the whole cryptocurrency market as a whole, dismissing fears that it’s some kind of bubble.
According to the New York Times report, the launch date of the Goldman Sachs BTC futures is not yet known but the initiative has the approval of the board of directors who signed off on the proposal a few days ago. The news outlet indicated that Goldman Sachs is about to create its own more flexible version of a BTC future known as a non-deliverable forward, which will eventually be delivered to its clients.
Speaking to The Times, Goldman Sachs executive Rana Yared explained that the decision to introduce BTC futures was taken after a huge amount of interest from its clients who showed the wish of holding the cryptocurrency as an alternative asset in their portfolios.
Goldman Sachs appeared to be serious on this initiative since they hired digital asset trader Justin Schmidt. Schmidt, who will be handling the bank’s daily operation, has previous experience at hedge fund Seven Eight Capital before he entered the cryptocurrency trading market last year.
This development demonstrates the continued involvement of Goldman Sachs in the crypto market. CEO Lloyd Blankfein had already stated that the bank was clearing BTCn futures for its clients whilst any further action on the proposal would depend on clearance by U.S. regulators.
Yared also indicated that the decision was not taken lightly: “For almost every person involved, there has been personal scepticism brought to the table. It is not a new risk that we don’t understand. It is just a heightened risk that we need to be extra aware of here.”
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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