Goldman Sachs will begin trading bitcoin futures and other contracts linked to the price of the digital currency, using its own money, in what may be the first bitcoin trading operation at a Wall Street bank, the New York Times reported.
Goldman Sachs executive Rana Yared said the move was based on interest from investment clients, who have told venerable old firm that they’re interested in the cryptocurrency as an alternative asset.
“It resonates with us when a client says, ‘I want to hold bitcoin or bitcoin futures because I think it is an alternate store of value,'” Yared told the Times.
The move could lend more legitimacy to digital currencies. Goldman also said that while it initially won’t buy actual bitcoins directly, it could move in that direction if it gets regulatory approval and can work out other issues around the risk of the currency.
Until this announcement, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have tended to be greeted more with skepticism on Wall Street, and in some cases, outright disdain. JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon famously called bitcoin a fraud.
Schmidt said Goldman’s reputation and place as an established part of the Wall Street banking environment, drew him to the job.
“In terms of having a trusted institutional player, it has been something I have been looking for in my own crypto trading,” he told the Times. “But it didn’t exist.”