Goldman Sachs Latest to Label Crypto a Business Risk

Feb 26, 2018 at 17:00 UTC
Updated Feb 27, 2018 at 09:42 UTC
NEWS

Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has cited its connection to cryptocurrencies and blockchain as a potential business risk, public records show.

In a way, the disclosure echoes one published last week by Bank of America, which warned at the time that it faces both competitive and compliance risks as a result of the technology.

According to the Feb. 26 filing, which constitutes its annual report for the fiscal year 2017, Goldman believes that it might be impacted because of its work with clients and the companies it has invested in. Goldman is an investor in payments startup Circle (which announced today that it had acquired crypto exchange Poloniex) and is one of a number of investment banks that offers its customers access to bitcoin futures markets, as reported by Bloomberg earlier this year.

The company wrote:

“We may be, or may become, exposed to risks related to distributed ledger technology through our facilitation of clients’ activities involving financial products linked to distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain or cryptocurrencies, our investments in companies that seek to develop platforms based on distributed ledger technology, and the use of distributed ledger technology by third-party vendors, clients, counterparties, clearing houses and other financial intermediaries.”

While no obvious connection was drawn, the risks highlighted – particularly on the cryptocurrency front – may form part of the reason why Goldman has thus far eschewed any closer involvement in the market.

In January, CEO Lloyd Blankfein denied a past report that the investment bank was eyeing the launch of a dedicated trading desk for bitcoin (though he did leave the door open for such a move at a later date).

“We’re a prime broker and so if our clients are going to do it, we’re going to do it. A principal bitcoin business where we’re going long and short, market making, so far we’re not,” he said at the time.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Circle.

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