Goldman Sachs COO Says ‘Client Demand is Rising’ to Invest in Digital Assets

Bank president John Waldron says the use of digital money will explode as the digital commerce trend continues, which was accelerated by the pandemic.

Goldman Sachs Group is exploring how it can meet the rising customer demand to invest in Bitcoin while following the regulations, said bank President and Chief Operating Officer John Waldron.

“Client demand is rising,” Waldron said. “We are regulated on what we can do. We continue to evaluate it … and engage on it.”

Recently, the banking giant restarted its Bitcoin trading desk, and it plans to start dealing Bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients from this month.

Goldman is also exploring a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), much like many other firms, and has issued a request for information to explore crypto asset custody.

Waldron said Goldman can custody cryptocurrencies “but can’t principle” them.

The bank is in talks with regulators and central banks regarding how they can be regulated when dealing with digital currencies. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently mulling over how to regulate broker-dealers who are holding digital assets for clients. The agency asked for public comments on the matter in December.

Last month, Bank of New York Mellon Corp. also said it had formed a new unit to help clients transfer and hold crypto assets. This week, JPMorgan filed with the SEC to launch a “Cryptocurrency Exposure Basket” through the stocks of companies dealing with crypto directly or indirectly.

It has been the pandemic that caused an increase in digital payments, and according to Goldman, this trend will continue. This will further cause a corresponding “explosion” in the use of digital currency, Waldron said.

“The pandemic has been a significant accelerant,” Waldron said. “There is no question in our mind there will be more digital commerce … and (use of) digital money.”

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