Goldman Sachs restarts cryptocurrency trading desk amid bitcoin boom




By Anna Irrera, Iain Withers and Lawrence White


LONDON (Reuters) – Group Inc has restarted its trading desk and will begin dealing futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients from next week, a person familiar with the matter said.



The team will sit within the U.S. bank’s Global Markets division, the person said.


The desk is part of Goldman’s activities within the fast-growing digital assets sector, which also includes projects involving blockchain technology and central bank digital currencies, the person said.


As part of this work, the bank is also exploring the potential for a exchange traded fund and has issued a request for information to explore digital asset custody, the source said.


The trading desk reboot comes amid growing interest by institutions in bitcoin, which has soared more than 470% over the past year. The largest is seen by investors and some as a hedge against inflation as governments and central banks turn on the stimulus taps.


While its price has risen significantly over the past year, remains highly volatile. The virtual currency smashed through $58,000 on February 21 then fell back by as much as 25% but has recovered some lost ground.


This makes the coin and related derivatives attractive for investors willing to take riskier long or short positions as they hunt for yield in a record-low interest rate environment.


Non-deliverable forwards are a type of derivative that allows investors to take a view on bitcoin’s future price.


Goldman first set up a desk in 2018, just as bitcoin’s price was falling from record highs, muting investor interest in digital coins.


Since then, market infrastructure for bitcoin and other large cryptocurrencies has significantly matured, with many established financial institutions offering products and services, including CME Group Inc, Intercontinental Exchange Inc and Fidelity.


The developments have helped to attract more mainstream to the sector, ranging from those offering crypto services to retail or institutional investors, to opting to hold bitcoin on their balance sheets


Last month, electric car manufacturer Tesla Inc said it had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin, while Bank of New York Mellon Corp said it had formed a new unit to help clients hold and transfer digital assets.


 


(Reporting by Anna Irrera, Iain Withers and Lawrence White in London. Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Jane Merriman)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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