Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is reportedly setting up a trading desk as it plans to enter the business of trading digital currencies such as bitcoin, according to a report, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
The bank plans to begin buying and selling cryptocurrencies as early as June, although it is still figuring out how to improve security issues and how it would hold, custody, or secure the assets, which are notoriously volatile and prone to being hacked, the report said.
“In response to client interest in digital currencies, we are exploring how best to serve them,” a spokesperson of Goldman said in a statement.
Goldman Sachs’ plan makes it the first huge Wall Street company to make markets in cryptocurrencies, whose wild price strikes and rushing values have caught the public’s imagination but given pause to build institutions. The investment bank is also one of the few major financial firms offering some clients access to the new bitcoin futures that launched on the Cboe Futures Exchange and the CME this month.
The red-hot cryptocurrency has climbed as much as 1,700 percent this year, tapping above $19,000 on some exchanges.
According to a report, the new trading desk would likely be situated in New York, although it remains unclear in which division it will be housed. One possibility is that it will operate within the fixed-income, currencies, and commodities units systematic trading function, which makes transactions electronically, the sources said.
In early October, news revealed that Goldman Sachs was considering to roll out a new trading operation for bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Whether or not other Wall Street players will follow Goldman’s lead remains to be seen. This year has already encountered a wave of interest in digital currencies from hedge funds, venture capitalists, and the general public, as new coins were launched and the total value of the market hit from less than $18 billion to some $600 billion on December 21.
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