The CEO of Barclays has said that it won’t be launching a cryptocurrency trading desk anytime soon stating that he is wary of regulatory and compliance issues.
Speaking at Barclays’ annual general meeting on Tuesday, Jes Staley, was responding to a shareholder question regarding the digital currency space, reports the Financial News. Even though Staley explained that the bank was looking into the cryptocurrency-related business, he added that:
Cryptocurrency is a real challenge for us because, on the one hand, there is the innovative side of it and wanting to stay in the forefront of technology’s improvement in finance. On the other side of it, there is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of.
Staley added that even though Barclays is aiding clients to settle bitcoin futures it has no immediate plans to set up a dedicated cryptocurrency trading desk.
His comments come at a time when the financial world is focusing more on digital currencies and how they can apply to them. At the end of last month, the CEO of Nasdaq said that the stock exchange ‘would consider‘ becoming a cryptocurrency exchange in the future once the industry had overcome certain hurdles, namely regulation.
Additionally, a survey has found that one in five finance firms are thinking about trading in digital currencies within the next 12 months. The survey, conducted by Thomson Reuters, also noted that 70 percent are planning to trade in them within the next three to six months.
Even though the market remains volatile, trader and investor interest hasn’t abated much, with investors remaining bullish on market improvements. With demand remaining, finance companies are beginning to realise that they need to answer customer demands to provide a platform to trade and invest in cryptocurrencies.
Notably, though, with the finance market undergoing a change, it’s possible that Barclays could change its tune and launch its own cryptocurrency trading desk. Given the fact that the bank has its Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, aimed at helping startups get off the ground, and that it supports bitcoin platform Safello, the cryptocurrency world is nothing new for Barclays.
For the bank, however, it may simply be a case of one step at a time.
Image from Shutterstock.