Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer Marty Chavez called a report that it was halting a plan to build a bitcoin trading platform incorrect, telling reporters that it’s still looking at how to offer access to the digital token.
Speaking during TechCrunch Disrupt, Chavez said the bank is still looking at how to offer bitcoin, but it hasn’t come up with a timeline for its efforts yet. “I was in New York yesterday and I was co-chairing our risk committee, and I saw the news article,” said Chavez, referring to the report. “It wasn’t like we announced anything or that anything had changed for us … I never thought I’d hear myself actually use this term, but I’d really have to describe that as fake news.” He said the bank has been working on a bitcoin trading platform that is similar to a commodities futures trading platform. In that case, bitcoin isn’t traded. The executive noted that institutional clients have requested access to the new bitcoin-linked futures contracts. He said the next stage of exploration for Goldman Sachs is in “non-deliverables forwards,” which Chavez said are over-the-counter derivatives. “They’re settled in U.S. dollars and the reference price is the bitcoin U.S. dollar price established by a set of exchanges, the same one that’s referenced in the futures contracts, and we’re working on that now because the clients wanted physical bitcoin — something tremendously interesting and tremendously challenging. From the perspective of custody, we don’t yet see an institutional grade custody cases custodian solution for bitcoin,” he said.
As for offering custodial services for institutions, Chavez said Goldman Sachs is interested, but it’s not part of the efforts yet. “Maybe someone who was thinking about our activities here got very excited that we would be making markets as principal and physical bitcoin, and then they got into realizing that that’s part of the evolution but it’s not here yet,” said the executive.