The world’s leading finance companies are struggling with a decision on whether to venture into the mysterious newly-emerged virtual assets market or to stay away from it.The leadership of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., one of the largest investment banks in the United States, is also exploring the future of cryptocurrency trades in connection with this financial giant.
Optimism in Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein struck an optimistic note on June 19, saying he does not rule out bitcoin having a future, despite not owning any bitcoin himself.
At the same time, Goldman Sachs president and Chief Operating Officer David Solomon told Bloomberg TV in China that the finance giant is exploring possibilities of expanding crypto trading activities beyond the publicly-traded derivatives.
“We are clearing some futures around Bitcoin, talking about doing some other activities there, but it’s going very cautiously. We’re listening to our clients and trying to help our clients as they’re exploring those things too,” Solomon said.
Asked about virtual currencies, Solomon said his company has to “evolve its business and adapt to the environment.”
Blankfein, speaking at The Economic Club of New York event, said that a long time ago the world transgressed from gold to fiat currencies that we use today. Similarly, he doesn’t see why virtual currencies might not have their place in the financial world in the future.
Blankfein told CNBC:
“If you could go through that fiat currency where they say this is worth what it’s worth because I, the government, says it is, why couldn’t you have a consensus currency? …And so it’s not for me, I don’t do it, I own no bitcoin. Goldman Sachs as far as I know… has no bitcoin, but if it does work out, I could give you the historical path why that could have happened.”
Approach like JP Morgan is Arrogant
Goldman Sachs is just one of the largest finance companies that have lately preoccupied themselves with the $284 billion crypto market for currencies such as bitcoin, ether, XRP, etc. and the opportunities or threats this market might have in store for their businesses.
While the Goldman Sachs management seems to be optimistic, there are plenty of those who are, to put it mildly, skeptical about the future of the crypto market. Those include JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who called cryptocurrency a “fraud.”
Blankfein, on the other hand, sees such an approach as arrogant and based on fear of the unknown.
“I’m not in this school of saying because it’s uncomfortable with me, because it’s unfamiliar, this can’t happen, that’s too arrogant,” the banker said.
Earlier, Goldman Sachs took a step toward virtual assets market by starting their crypto trading desk and hiring Justin Schmidt as the first head of crypto markets in their securities department.
Some, like blockchain venture capitalist Spencer Bogart, believe other large banks might follow suit.
“Most of these banks have heard about the numbers or seen the numbers that companies like Coinbase and Binance are putting up. There’s a real risk that some of those companies could overtake some of Wall Street’s biggest banks if they don’t get in the market,” Bogart told CNBC in May 2018.