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Goldman Sachs CFO Calls Trading Desk Rumors “Fake News”

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–Despite reports surrounding a potential cryptocurrency trading desk by Wall Street goliath Goldman Sachs–and its subsequent closure–the company has since come out to debunk any such reports.

First reported by CNBC on September 6, Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Martin Chavez has explained that reports related to the company abandoning its intended cryptocurrency trading desk have been “fake news,” and described the entire scenario as a premature understanding. Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco, the CFO of Goldman Sachs put the situation rather bluntly,

“I never thought I would hear myself use this term but I really have to describe that news as fake news.”

While Bloomberg had originally reported at the end of last year that Goldman Sachs was working on the implementation of a cryptocurrency trading desk to be launched in 2018, a story out of Business Insider earlier this week claimed that the project had been shuttered. The Business Insider report quoted unnamed sources as the basis of the information, giving evidence that the Wall Street firm had decided to do away with the previously hyped up trading desk. In addition, the story cited the unclear regulatory environment of cryptocurrency–a feature that many have been alluding to as a barrier to institutional investors–was the primary reason for Goldman shelving the project, at least in the interim.

Chavez has since come forth to say that the excitement over a Goldman Sachs crypto trading desk got ahead of the facts, with the industry not yet being at the point of maturation necessary for such a venture,
“When we talked about exploring digital assets […] it was going to be exploration that would be evolving over time. Maybe someone who was thinking about our activities here got very excited that we would be making markets as principal and physical Bitcoin, and as they got into it they realized part of the evolution but its not here yet.”

Chavez also went on to say that the bank has no intention to proceed with physical Bitcoin trading at this point in time, claiming that a more reliable custody solution was needed before they would consider the option. However, the company does still provide liquidity for BTC future contracts through CBOE and CME, a feature that some have seen as a prelude for the industry finally obtaining approval by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission for Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds. Expanding upon the idea of Goldman Sachs venturing into Bitcoin directly, Chavez called the idea “tremendously interesting,” but also went on to state that it would be challenging to implement in the current market form,

“Physical bitcoin is something tremendously interesting, and tremendously challenging. From the perspective of custody, we don’t yet see an institutional-grade custodial solution for Bitcoin, we’re interested in having that exist and it’s a long road.”

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