In 2017, the Bitcoin bubble was largely driven by your average consumers, mom & pop investors that were trying to earn towards their retirement. You see, due to the friction in the corporate and institutional world, big names on Wall Street and Silicon Valley were slow to enter, only making announcements and dropping leaks instead of releasing products and directly driving adoption.
Just under two years later, this is changing. As made clear by Google Trends data, the demographic that boosted BTC from $1,000 to $20,000 in 2017 is still widely oblivious about this recent rally. Filling the gaps are institutions, who seem to be serious in their forays into this industry.
According to a report from The Block, which cites a job posting from Goldman Sachs, the notable Wall Street bank is really looking into this space, hence the need for a “Digital Asset Project Manager.”
Where No Man Has Gone Before
“Further than ever before”, that’s what Goldman Sachs’ HR team wrote to describe its entree into the cryptocurrency space to job candidates. Per the listing, the Project Manager for the bank’s new cryptocurrency unit will be “exploring” opportunities in this industry, meaning they will be responsible for “defining both the scope and direction of the business.” The candidate will be responsible for developing a roadmap for the unnamed division, and collaborating with other divisions, especially compliance and risk.
While the job posting makes it sound like Goldman doesn’t have any concrete plans, there have been whisperings of plans in the works. Case in point, just last month, the chief executive of the institution, semi-professional disk jockey David Solomon told a French news outlet that Goldman is eyeing its own cryptocurrency.
Solomon, along with some insiders speaking to outlets, hinted that Goldman may launch something like JP Morgan’s cryptocurrency, the fittingly-named JPM Coin. For those unaware, earlier this year, the institution unveiled an intra-bank cryptocurrency solution, which is based on Ethereum’s chain, that would allow different branches and corporations using JP Morgan’s services to send value between accounts.
The firm’s executives have also claimed that they’re open to allowing JPM Coin to see use as a retail medium of exchange, but this is currently somewhat of a quixotic dream.
It is unclear how Goldman will differentiate its venture from JPM Coin if it decides to go that route.
A Long Time Coming
Goldman’s sortie into the cryptocurrency industry is honestly a long time coming. As hinted at earlier, the financial institution was reported to be entering the space in late-2017. In fact, reports suggested that the bank was working on a Bitcoin trading desk, which would have opened this market to monumental levels of institutional interest that would have only perpetuated BTC’s bubble-esque price action. Also, there were rumors that the bank was working on a custody solution, which turned out to be baseless.
Anyhow, Goldman’s recent search for a Digital Asset Product Manager confirms that Wall Street is keeping a close eye on the industry, with some even taking their efforts as far as products. Case in point, Fidelity Investments, a financial services firm that has been mining Bitcoin in-office for years, is currently beta testing its BTC custody solution and trade execution desk.
Also, massive exchanges in the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, CME, and the CBOE either have released cryptocurrency futures or are actively working on such solutions.
There’s still one thing missing though: a U.S.-regulated, institutionally-available Bitcoin ETF. But with Bakkt, ErisX, and other ventures well on their way in launching, maybe such a vehicle isn’t the end all and be all.