While the big banks are usually very skeptical of bitcoin in public, below the radar they could all already be making plans to gain a foothold for themselves in the ecosystem. The latest example is Barclays that is reportedly asking clients about a possible move into the crypto trading space.
Testing the Waters
British banking giant Barclays (LSE: BARC) is supposedly considering launching a cryptocurrency trading desk. The bank is trying to figure out if there is enough demand from its clients including hedge funds, big investors and the like for it to enter this new line of business. This would make Barclays the first major bank in London to offer such a service.
Although the bank says it still has no specific plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk, sources have revealed it has conducted a preliminary assessment of demand and feasibility. “We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market,” spokesman Andrew Smith said in a statement to Bloomberg.
If Barclays doesn’t encounter a push back from regulators, it should not have a problem finding enough demand for such a service considering the plethora of cryptocurrency hedge funds that hit the scene over the big rally of 2017. And many of those need a large and regulated counter party to deal with. The only other major bank thought to be in the process of entering the field is Goldman Sachs, although its CEO has denied the rumors they are setting up a bitcoin trading desk.
As we reported earlier this month, big players in the cryptocurrency space have set up their own private network for OTC trading, buying and selling billions every month among their little club. And instead of using any system usually employed by traders on Wall Street, they just close massive deals on Skype.
Do you think it’s inevitable that more major banks will enter the bitcoin trading ecosystem? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Author: Avi Mizrahi