Goldman Sachs Customers’ Demand for Bitcoin Rising: COO

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FILE PHOTO: A representation of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken January 8, 2021

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is exploring how it can meet rising customer demand to own and invest in bitcoin, while still staying on the right side of regulation, bank President and Chief Operating Officer John Waldron said on Wednesday.

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

The bank recently restarted its cryptocurrency trading desk and this month it started dealing bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients.

Goldman is also exploring a bitcoin exchange traded fund and has issued a request for information to explore digital asset custody.

Waldron said Goldman can custody digital assets “but can’t principle” them, and is in talks with regulators and central banks about how banks should be regulated when dealing with digital money.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is mulling how to regulate broker-dealers who are holding digital assets for clients and asked for public comments on the matter in December.

The pandemic caused an explosion in online commerce, as consumers spent more time shopping from their couch than in-person over the past year.

Goldman believes this trend will continue and that it will 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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