For more than a year there have been persistent rumours about how one of the big banks or investment firms would jump into the fray and start a Bitcoin business. That hope has thus far borne no results. The CEO of SolidX Partners, Daniel H. Gallancy, commenting on this said that it was unrealistic to anticipate such a development in 2018.
The head of Solidx has been working towards a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the U.S. market. In a recent interview he discussed how he was unimpressed by market assertions that top US financial institutes, such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, will be operating crypto exchanges or at least offering custodial services and solutions, by the end of 2018. He stated,
“The market had unrealistic expectations that Goldman or any of its peers could suddenly start a Bitcoin trading business. That was top-of-the-market-hype thinking.”
He went on to warn against such hype, advising investors to do their own thorough investigation before believing such news.
So There Is Not Truth In This?
Goldman Sach is not the only one, many of the big financial institutes were expected to announce some sort of crypto-related ventures by this years end.
However any such potential ideas would have been slowed in May when the prices saw a down turn. And the 14th November price massacre would have shelved any plans for the time being. It seems highly unlikely price fluctuations of a nascent industry will attract them back, soon.
However, this is not all idle chat either. Goldman Sachs, the billion dollar investment giant, has already been working with Ripple [XRP] and also actively been looking at options to offer Bitcoin services to its clientele. As a matter of fact, this was a question posed directly to David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, when he was in China.
Confirming the firms intentions to jump in the market he had said “We are clearing some futures around Bitcoin, talking about doing some other activities there, but it’s going very cautiously. We’re listening to our clients and trying to help our clients as they’re exploring those things too. Goldman Sachs must evolve its business and adapt to the environment.”
So Then What Is The Problem?
Regulations and the companies inability to get the necessary permits from American financial authorities are the major stumbling blocks. While the company could still clear Bitcoin futures, it would do so using help from CBOE and other established US futures markets.
This still means they would be unable to operate as custodians of the asset; thus not only will they be unable to hold onto the crypto, they will be unable to invest it for their clients.
Justin Schmidt, a top executive at Goldman Sachs had outlined this earlier. Discussing the lack of approval coupled with the snails pace at which the bill for defining these digital assets is proceeding. He pointed out the inherent risk for the institutions to provide such services.
Talking about the lack of clarity, he explained how this would be the central piece before anything can be done. He had said,
“Custody is this foundational piece that is absolutely necessary. Custody is part of an overall integrated system where different parts need to work well with each other and safely with each other and you have to be able to trust all the different parts in that chain, from buying something to transferring it to storing it in for the long-term”
A More Promising New Year?
While it is unrealistic to expect any sudden announcements from the major banks to throw caution to the wind and start offering crypto services, it might not be too far fetched to see this in the near future.
Undoubtedly all these institutions recognise the public relations opportunity that embracing this innovative technology would bring with it. Along with that, the actual long-term prospects offered by these digital assets has been the subject of much study, including by these powerhouses.
With a market stabilising around the $4000, for now, interest from the big players will certainly be the good bit of news that the industry would be hoping for as they round off this incredible year.