Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been waiting with bated breaths for the day that Wall Street player Goldman Sachs finally began bringing clients aboard for its new Bitcoin trading product. Now, it appears, that day has arrived.
Though the trading desk has not yet arrived, it is reported that the company has already begun signing up a “small number of clients” while still considering the possibility of launching custody services for crypto assets in the future.
News of Goldman’s product first made headlines in October 2017. It was reported that the investment banking giant intended to launch a Bitcoin trading operation designed for the exchange of derivatives and cash-settled products similar with futures contracts but delivered via cryptocurrency.
Derivatives are contracts between 2 separate parties that work together to fix the price of an underlying asset – in this case, digital tokens or coins – over a period for a future transaction. The user is slated to purchase the asset on a specific date at a specific price, while the seller commits to issuing the product.
The system is designed to lessen volatility and provide a little more fairness and stability for both parties.
What’s Special About All This?
In the case of Bitcoin-based derivatives, investors can manage risk, thus making it easier and safer to hold the cryptocurrency. The system is built to make digital assets more accessible to institutional investors and large corporations, thereby bringing an air of legitimacy to the crypto arena.
At the time of writing, similar items are available through platforms like CBOE and CME Group, though these firms deal primarily in cash-settled Bitcoin futures contracts.
A Few Bumps in the Road
Last September, Goldman’s plans allegedly came to a temporary halt when it was announced that executives were stepping away from the trading desk project following drops in the prices of Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies.
Soon after the crash, representatives of the company stated that a timeline for the product was never set in stone, causing concern levels amongst die-hard cryptocurrency fans to swell.
However, it appears plans are once again underway.
I want to hold bitcoin or bitcoin futures because I think it is an alternate store of value. Goldman will begin using its own money to trade bitcoin futures on behalf of clients.
This led many to believe that the enterprise had already started the ball rolling on its derivatives offerings.
Crypto – The Wave of the Future?
3 months later, CEO Lloyd Blankfein said that the company would be “too arrogant” if they assumed that cryptocurrency wasn’t capable of garnering mainstream popularity or adoption:
Goldman Sachs, as far as I know, unless nobody told me, has no bitcoin, but if it does work out, I could give you the historical path why that could happen. And so, I’m not in the school of saying, ‘Gee – because it’s uncomfortable with me, because it’s unfamiliar, this can’t happen.’ That’s too arrogant.
In mid-October, it was confirmed that both Goldman Sachs and investment firm Galaxy Digital Ventures had invested roughly $16 million in BitGo, a new blockchain security company stationed in Palo Alto, California, to develop its own cryptocurrency wallet.