Rumour has it that Barclays is now setting up a cryptocurrency trading desk but what the company has to say for itself and what the executives claiming to have been appointed to these positions have to say is rather different. Naturally, this has lead to speculation about what Barclays might be up to (or not), so what do we really know so far?
What Does Barclays Say?
The bank has so far said that it has no current plans to start an operation trading in cryptocurrencies, however, Andrew Smith, a spokesperson for Barclays sent an emailed statement to Bloomberg saying:
“We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialogue with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market.”
However, a team of analysts led by Joseph Abate laid out a pricing model for Bitcoin that treated it in a similar way to a disease. This suggested that the cryptocurrency could be on the decline after a plateau. Though this model is not necessarily promising for the market, it does at least suggest that Barclays is taking the cryptocurrency market seriously.
Bloomberg also revealed that Barclays had been asking clients about whether they would be interested in trading in cryptocurrencies.
What Do the Execs Say?
A source told Business Insider that Matthieu Jobbe Duval and Chris Tyrer started working on a “digital asset project” in January 2018. Though both removed the descriptions of what they were doing from their LinkedIn profiles and declined to comment to Business Insider, Barclays confirmed that both were working at the bank.
Though there is nothing in the way of confirmation, this looks a lot like Barclays are setting up a department to at least explore the cryptocurrency market and its viability for its clients. It also seems that a trend is developing amongst banks where senior members of staff are denying any involvement while they are actively developing an approach elsewhere in the business.
Who Else Could be Investigating Cryptocurrencies?
Wall Street Bank, Goldman Sachs is, unsurprisingly, perhaps, at the forefront of the trend for exploring cryptocurrencies and creating a Bitcoin trading desk. Justin Schmidt has joined Goldman Sachs as a VP and will be the Head of Digital Asset Markets within the New York-based investment bank’s securities division. Though he will not be trading anything at the bank, including crypto, his role will incorporate researching how Goldman Sachs might enter the digital currency market. Indeed,
JP Morgan is also taking steps towards the cryptocurrency market in hiring Oliver Harris as the new Head of crypto assets strategy and will lead the Quorum project, the internal blockchain platform developed by the bank. JPMorgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, remains sceptical of cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin in particular, though he has suggested that he would be “open-minded to uses of cryptocurrencies if properly controlled and regulated.”
The interest that banks are now showing in cryptocurrencies, openly or not, is certainly an indication that cryptocurrencies are entering a new phase in their development.
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