Business

Erik Gibbs

Goldman Sachs reverses course on Bitcoin trading desk

After sources close to the financial powerhouse confirmed in late 2017 that the company was planning on launching a trading desk, Goldman Sachs has come out to say that it’s holding off—at least for the time-being. According to Business Insider, the company has decided that the trading desk is not a priority and prefers to focus on a custody product that can be of better use to large institutional clients.

When it hired cryptocurrency trader Justin Schmidt last year, the financial and crypto communities were certain the trading desk was right around the corner. The past several months have seen a number of announcements and rumors coming out of Goldman Sachs, all indicating that the company was possibly working on attacking crypto from several different angles, including the trading desk. However, as revealed by the Business Insider article, the current lack of regulatory guidelines are forcing the company to reconsider.

According to a company spokesperson, “In response to client interest in various digital products, we are exploring how best to serve them in the space. At this point, we have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering.”

Crypto regulations are still a very touchy subject. On the one hand, there is the segment that strongly opposes any governmental oversight of the space, as it is seen as an intrusion. On the other, there are those who argue that only through regulation will cryptocurrency be able to reach mainstream adoption. Caught in the middle are the regulators—a rollout of regulations could be seen as a general approval of cryptocurrencies, which, some say, could threaten traditional finance around the world.

In the meantime, Goldman Sachs will dedicate resources for other projects, like the crypto custody product. The company believes that this will be a perfect match for large institutional clients that want to access the crypto market, but are concerned about stability. Being backed by a regulated, entrenched financial giant like Goldman Sachs will give the investors more confidence before taking the plunge.

The firm isn’t the only said to be exploring custody services for institutional investors. Coinbase and BitGo have been researching the feasibility of a custody product, as have Fidelity, JP Morgan and Nomura.

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