Barclays has reportedly created its own staff to explore the possibility of crypto trading, but the bank denies that it has any such plans.


Bank Has a Change of Heart?

Yesterday, Financial News reported that the British investment bank had created a senior team to determine how it can start trading cryptocurrencies. If true, the move marks a notable shift for the financial establishment. In May, Jes Staley, Barclays’ CEO, said the bank had no plans to launch a crypto trading desk. At the time, he stated he was wary of regulatory and compliance issues.

Now, however, it appears the bank may be reconsidering its position. According to the FN report, Chris Tyrer, the lender’s former global head of energy trading, is to lead the “digital assets project.” It will determine how it can implement a crypto trading desk into its market business.

Notably, a spokesperson for the bank stated that it had no plans to begin trading cryptocurrencies. It was, however, constantly monitoring the market. Those involved believe that a step into the growing sector could become a viable asset class in the long-term.

Barclays Says It Has No Such Plans

Interestingly, yesterday it was also reported by Business Insider that Barclays was not working on crypto products.

The report noted that two people were involved in the digital assets project, according to their LinkedIn profiles. One of the people was Tyrer. The second individual was Matthieu Jobbe Duval, a former Barclays oil trader. Apparently, they had been working on the project since January.

According to Duval’s LinkedIn page, it said he had been:

…hired to produce a business plan for integrating a digital assets trading desk into Barclays’ markets business: revenue opportunity, competitive landscape, budgeting and planning for delivery, I.T. buildout, capital & balance sheet impact.

Duval soon removed the listing from his page when contacted by Business Insider for a comment. He did, however, confirm that it was “accurate.” Tyrer refused to comment.

Banks Begin Turning to Cryptocurrency

Despite this uncertainty with Barclays, banks are finally changing their tune toward cryptocurrencies.

Goldman Sachs is one such example. Yesterday, it was reported that the financial service giant was considering offering custody services for crypto funds. This despite its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, claiming that Bitcoin was not for him.

Fund management BlackRock also seems keen to get involved. Last month, reports indicated that the company was creating a team to enter the crypto market. That, however, didn’t stop Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, from refuting those claims.

At the time, he said during an interview:

I don’t believe any client has sought out crypto exposure. I’ve not heard from one client who says, ‘I need to be in this.’

These, however, are just a few examples. Yet, it paints a clear picture. Bank are increasingly turning their attention to cryptocurrencies even though bank CEOs have called them a fraud or aren’t worth anything. It just goes to show that those who criticize the loudest may, in fact, be plotting to enter the market at a later stage.

Do you think Barclays is entering the crypto space with its own trading desk? Let us know in the comments below.


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