Global investment bank Goldman Sachs has brought back its bitcoin trading desk and will start handling bitcoin futures next week. The firm is also reportedly exploring the potential for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) and plans to provide a crypto custody service.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has restarted its cryptocurrency trading desk, Reuters reported Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter. Goldman first set up a cryptocurrency desk in 2018, after a bull run as the price of bitcoin was falling from record highs, muting investor interest in the cryptocurrency.
The desk will "begin dealing bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients from next week," the publication conveyed. It will also take on projects involving blockchain technology and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
The crypto desk will be within Goldman Sachs' global markets division and will serve as a market-maker, buying and selling on behalf of clients but not actively managing cryptocurrencies itself, according to Forbes.
"The bank is also exploring the potential for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund and has issued a request for information to explore digital asset custody," the source detailed. Currently, North America has two bitcoin ETFs, recently approved in Canada.
As bitcoin continues to outperform other assets, more companies are seeking to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency. For example, the Nasdaq-listed Microstrategy announced Monday that "it had purchased approximately 328 bitcoins for $15.0 million in cash" and "now holds approximately 90,859 bitcoins." Moreover, 42 companies now collectively hold more than $65 billion worth of bitcoin.
The price of bitcoin has risen about 56% since the beginning of the year, currently standing at $48,677, based on data from markets.Bitcoin.com. Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein recently warned, "If I were a regulator, I would be kind of hyperventilating at the success of it [bitcoin]." Meanwhile, Goldman's current global head of commodities research, Jeff Currie, said that the bitcoin market "is beginning to become more mature," calling the cryptocurrency "a retail inflation hedge."