Barclays Plc, the British banking major, has reportedly reached out to its clients to gauge their interest in a cryptocurrency trading desk.
The bank did a preliminary assessment of demand and feasibility of a cryptocurrency trading desk, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.
Responding to the news, Barclays spokesman Andrew Smith said in an emailed statement to news outlets that the bank currently has no plans to build a cryptocurrency trading desk.
“We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market going forward,” Coindesk reported Smith as saying in the statement.
While they are already exploring options in blockchain, most major banks are considering whether to enter cryptocurrency trading or not. Risks such a business entail are immense, but so are the rewards.
Thus far, no major European bank is known to be in the process of setting up a crypto trading desk.
In the US, Goldman Sachs is building a cryptocurrency trading desk that is expected to be launched by the end of June, Bloomberg reported in December. However, the bank CEO Lloyd Blankfein has denied any such move.
Players in traditional finance have been wary of cryptocurrencies, mainly because the field is nascent and cryptocurrency prices are highly volatile.
Banks are set to find a huge client base in hedge funds that are focused on cryptocurrencies. There are around 251 crypto funds with $3.5 – $5 billion in assets under management, data from Autonomous Research showed.
by Jyotsna V