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 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.”
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.
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.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.