Multiple recent reports have attributed the crash in bitcoin prices and cryptocurrency markets to investment bank Goldman Sachs’ decision to reconsider entry into bitcoin trading. But that may not be true. In an interview at Techcrunch Disrupt, Marty Chavez, CFO at Goldman, termed the reports as “fake news”.
“I was in New York yesterday and I was co-chairing our risk committee, and I saw the news article. “It wasn’t like we announced anything or that anything had changed for us… I never thought I’d hear myself actually use this term, but I’d really have to describe that as fake news,” he told audiences at the conference.
Business Insider first reported the news of Goldman’s thinking on bitcoin trading. According to the story, Goldman was wary of the number of steps required for compliance to trade bitcoin. Since the report came out, bitcoin and crypto markets have been in a free fall. To be fair to Business Insider, the publication stated that Goldman was reconsidering its plans in the “near-term”.
But The Bank Still Plans To Offer Crypto-Related Products
A New York Times story in May this year reported that Goldman was pursuing a bitcoin trading venture. The article quoted Rana Yared, who works with the bank’s securities division, as saying that they had received inquiries from large institutional clients, such as endowment foundations, regarding the cryptocurrency. The article also stated that the firm would begin trading bitcoin futures contracts and offer non-deliverable forward contracts (or contracts that did not require delivery of physical bitcoin) to clients.
Chavez confirmed these developments during his conversation at TechCrunch. “Our institutional clients said, ‘We would love for you to clear these new Bitcoin-linked futures contracts offered by the exchanges,’ so we’ve been doing that, and then clients since May [started to ask], ‘We would like for you also to provide us liquidity and trade the principal as principal the futures contracts, not just clear them,’ and so we’ve been doing that, the next stage of the exploration, what we call ‘non-deliverable forwards,’ he explained.
But he did not provide a timeline for trading or development of institutional grade custody solutions. “..it’s a long road and so I would just be speculating,” he said. According to him, there are no institutional grade custody cases custodian solution for bitcoin currently.
Goldman’s entry into bitcoin trading is expected to make a significant difference to the cryptocurrency’s liquidity and trading patterns. The hallowed investment firm manages money for some of the biggest names in finance. Just its commodities trading division, which raked in excess of $3 billion in the years leading up to the financial crisis, reported revenues of $1.1 billion in 2016. The firm is already a clearing agent for bitcoin futures.