Goldman Sachs has revived plans to open a trading desk for cryptocurrency, and will begin dealing Bitcoin futures contracts by mid-March, a person close to the banking giant told on Monday.
The decision, first reported by Reuters, is significant because it reflects how the biggest names on Wall Street are coming to view cryptocurrency as part of their day-to-day operations. It’s also notable because Goldman Sachs announced plans for a crypto trading desk in 2018 but then quietly shelved the idea amid the Bitcoin price slump later that year.
Futures contracts, which oblige purchasers to buy an asset at a given price at a later date, serve to increase liquidity in a given market, and are used both for speculation and for hedging against price swings.
Goldman Sachs will not be the first to offer Bitcoin futures contracts—other financial giants like CME Group Inc, Intercontinental Exchange Inc, and Fidelity have traded them for some time—but the firm’s decision is likely to spur further interest in crypto markets, and comes as a bullish sign for Bitcoin.
The bank did not immediately comment as to whether its trading desk, which will be part of its US bank’s Global Markets division, will offer contracts for other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, or deal strictly in Bitcoin.
Goldman Sachs’s foray into Bitcoin comes as the original cryptocurrency appears to be shaking off a brief slump last week. The price of Bitcoin fell nearly 25% from an all-time high of around $58,000 to approximately $43,500. As of midday Monday, Bitcoin was trading close to $49,000.
The recent rally has been further fueled by the decision of major companies, including Tesla, to add Bitcoin to their corporate treasuries, and bullish sentiment around Coinbase, which is poised to become the first major cryptocurrency company to go public in coming weeks.