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U.S. banking giant Goldman Sachs to gatecrash crypto market with digital custody business


The lines between the legacy financial systems and the nascent cryptocurrency market are increasingly getting blurred. Trading financial companies are either buying digital assets or looking for ways to provide services related to the emerging industry.

And Goldman Sachs could be the latest traditional financial company to enter the cryptocurrency market.

Goldman Sachs, an American investment bank and financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets under management (AUM), has issued a request for information (RFI) in a bid to enter the digital asset custody business, said a source inside the bank privy to the matter.

The bank source did not give a specific timeline of when the digital asset custody service would come into effect but said it would be “evident soon.”

The bank’s digital asset custody RFI was sent to at least one major crypto custody service provider toward the end of last year.

Goldman Sachs closely following the crypto space and its competitors

Goldman Sachs is following in the footsteps of JPMorgan Chase, a U.S. multinational investment bank considering digital custody business. 

“Like JPMorgan, we have issued an RFI looking at digital custody. We are broadly exploring digital custody and deciding what the next step is,” said the source who asked to remain anonymous.

The Block reported in October last year that JPMorgan reached out to crypto native firms on its plans to offer digital asset custody services to its clients. The bank approached Fidelity Digital Assets and Paxos

JPMorgan has an in-house blockchain division and in February 2019, the investment bank launched the JPM Coin, a blockchain-based digital currency representing fiat currency.

The source elaborated that the custody initiative was part of the bank’s bigger digital strategy, citing stablecoins that were recently endorsed by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). 

The OCC is allowing stablecoins and blockchain networks to be integrated into the U.S. financial payment system. 

The cryptocurrency industry recently enjoyed a huge milestone when Visa-backed startup Anchorage announced that it had become the first crypto firm to receive a federal banking charter from the OCC.

Anchorage’s regulatory approval has the potential to attract institutional players into the crypto space.

The Goldman Sachs insider explained that the bank is only exploring custody services and has not thought as far as prime brokerage.

Institutional players are coming into the fold, with major traditional companies converting their balance sheet into Bitcoin.

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