Bank of America Creates Team Dedicated to Researching Crypto

America’s second-largest bank is the latest financial institution to wade deeper into crypto.

AccessTimeIconJul 8, 2021 at 5:09 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:21 a.m. UTC

Bank of America has created a team dedicated to researching cryptocurrencies and related technologies, according to an internal memo reviewed by CoinDesk.

Cryptocurrencies and digital assets are “one of the fastest-growing emerging technology ecosystems," Candace Browning, Bank of America’s head of global research, wrote in the memo, which was first reported by Bloomberg.

  • The 'Real Question' About Sam Bankman-Fried's Trial is What Happens Next: Kevin O'Leary
    00:36
    The 'Real Question' About Sam Bankman-Fried's Trial is What Happens Next: Kevin O'Leary
  • How Decentralization Cultivates Community
    05:08
    How Decentralization Cultivates Community
  • How Decentralized Threads Build Web3
    05:40
    How Decentralized Threads Build Web3
  • Opening the World of Transactions
    05:06
    Opening the World of Transactions
  • "The sector is currently valued at about $2 trillion, inflows to new ETP/ETFs at $50 billion and growing and venture capital firms are making significant investments in crypto/blockchain companies," she wrote. B of A is “uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership due to our strong industry research analysis, market-leading global payments platform and our blockchain expertise.”

    “We are uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership" for crypto, says a Bank of America executive.
    “We are uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership" for crypto, says a Bank of America executive.

    Bank of America has flirted with blockchain technology, crypto’s more respectable cousin, for years. In 2018, it filed a patent application for a permissioned, or invite-only, blockchain to record internet-of-things (IoT) node data, one of many such patents pursued by the company, and in 2019, it began hiring for several blockchain positions. 

    But Bank of America has been slower than rival megabanks – such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, which recently reopened its crypto trading desk – to wade into crypto. The new crypto research team suggests that things might be changing at the second-largest U.S. bank by assets.

    The group will be headed by B of A veteran Alkesh Shah, a founding member of the North Carolina-based bank’s data and innovation strategy group, and will report to Michael Maras, head of the bank’s global fixed-income, currencies and commodities research team.

    Danny Nelson contributed reporting.

    UPDATE (July 8, 18:30 UTC): Adds more detail from internal B of A memo.

    Disclosure

    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.