Barclays — one of the world’s largest multinational banks — has ceased working on a cryptocurrency trading project and is reportedly putting the platform “on ice,” two inside sources told Financial News this week.
Earlier this year, the investment bank assembled a team of industry experts to head the project, with the goal of investigating how digital assets trading could be incorporated into the bank’s already successful marketing business.
Chris Tyrer was assigned as head of the Digital Assets Project at Barclays, having previously served as head of energy trading. The other team members were head of FX and emerging markets macro strategy Marvin Barth, senior technologist Lee Braine, and consultant Matthieu Jobbe Duval.
The four-man team was tasked with identifying the viability of cryptocurrencies as a long-term asset class, examining whether there was a demand for cryptocurrencies among its existing clients, and what reporting what technical challenges and IT infrastructure would need to be addressed to integrate them.
Following Other Footsteps
The move comes following a disingenuous report from Business Insider that Goldman Sachs, an American multinational investment bank, will be scrapping a Bitcoin trading desk from its agenda, citing regulatory issues as the rationale behind the decision. Shortly after the news hit, Bitcoin (BTC) prices fell by around 5 percent, while Ethereum (ETH) saw more than 10 percent wiped off its market cap.
Incidentally, there has been no discernible change to the cryptocurrency market cap following Barclays’ announcement.
At Barclay’s most recent annual general meeting last May, chief executive Jes Staley remarked that Barclays is aware of the regulatory issues surrounding cryptocurrencies.
Despite both Barclays and Goldman Sachs withholding entry into the digital assets markets, other banks look poised to enter the market whilst the competition is low. JPMorgan, for example, recently began making moves with its crypto-assets strategy, while Bank of America recently patented a cryptocurrency vault storage system for enterprises. The latter followed up with a second patent application, this time for blockchain encryption tags.
Which bank do you think will be the first to offer cryptocurrency trading services? Do you think there needs to be further clarification on the regulatory status of digital assets? Let us know in the comments below!