Goldman Sachs is Considering a Cryptocurrency Custody Offering

News and Analysis

Despite its recent negative comments on cryptocurrencies, leading global investment bank Goldman Sachs is considering a plan to offer custody for crypto funds.

According to a Bloomberg report on Monday, August 6, the bank would hold the newfangled securities on behalf of the funds, reducing risk for clients seeking to guard against the threat of losing their investments to rogue attacks.

The deliberations are ongoing and no timeline has been set for when the firm will roll out the services, the news agency says citing people with knowledge of the matter. The sources asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

A formal offering from an institution like Goldman Sachs would provide a credible backing for crypto funds and could pave the way for more investors to bet on the asset class. Having a custody operation in place could also lead to other ventures, including prime-brokerage services, the people said.

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

Notably, Goldman Sachs is also warning that so-called “cryptocurrency mania” is among the six factors that will impact the markets for the remainder of this year.

According to a CNBC report citing the Wall Street bank’s mid-year economic outlook, Goldman Sachs warned of declines to come to the cryptocurrencies market.

“We expect further declines in the future given our view that these cryptocurrencies do not fulfill any of the three traditional roles of a currency,” Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Goldman’s chief investment officer of the private wealth management group, said in the report published last week.

However, at least three giant Wall Street custodians – Bank of New York Mellon Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Northern Trust Corp. – are working on crypto-custody services or exploring it, people briefed on their efforts said.

Goldman Sachs has so far been taking baby steps around cryptocurrencies and hasn’t yet set up a full-fledged desk to trade the currencies since hiring Justin Schmidt earlier this year as head of its digital-asset markets.

It was among the first Wall Street firms to clear Bitcoin futures offered by Cboe Global Markets Inc. and CME Group Inc.

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