Bank of America Sets Up Dedicated Research Team to Study Crypto

America’s second-largest bank, Bank Of America, has established a team dedicated to researching cryptocurrencies, Bloomberg reports.

Cryptocurrencies: One of the Fastest Growing Ecosystems

In a memo, the bank emphasized the growing interest in cryptocurrencies, describing them as one of the fastest-growing emerging technology ecosystems.

Bank of America’s head of global research, Candace Browning, noted that

“We are uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership due to our strong industry research analysis, market-leading global payments platform, and our blockchain expertise.”

According to the memo, Alkesh Shah, the bank’s former head of the Global Technology Specialist team, will lead the cryptocurrency research team.

Shah will report to Michael Maras, who leads Bank of America’s fixed-income, currencies, and commodities research globally. Mamta Jain and Andrew Moss will also join the crypto research team and will report to Shah.

Shah has been working in Bank of America since 2013 and has previously worked at Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Bank of America has been in the blockchain scene for years. In 2018, the bank held the largest number of blockchain patents compared to other banks, and in 2019 it filed 722 patent applications.

The North Carolina-based bank also began hiring for several blockchain positions that same year.

In May this year, the Bank of America joined Paxos Trust. co, a blockchain-based settlement network for equities. Thanks to this partnership, the bank began settling stock trades in minutes rather than days using blockchain.

Bank Of America Becomes Latest Wall Street Bank Taking Crypto Step

With this creation of a crypto research team, the Bank of America becomes the latest US financial institution to dive deeper into crypto.

Several Wall Street banks have capitalized on investors’ frenzy for digital assets in recent times. Banks have been rapidly expanding into the world of cryptocurrencies, with many pushing to offer wealth-management products or custody services for the asset class.

For instance, Goldman Sachs Group Inc re-launched its cryptocurrency trading desk in March.

It also started offering investors access to non-deliverable forwards (NDFs), a derivative tied to bitcoin’s price that pays out in cash in May.

The bank is also looking at expanding into Ether by offering investors options and futures trading in the asset.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has also begun offering crypto-related products. In March, the bank launched a Bitcoin exposure basket, a product to track public company stocks with Bitcoin exposure.

In addition to crypto offerings, JP Morgan also rolled out crypto-related job vacancies last month, leading to speculations surrounding its growing cryptocurrency ambitions.

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