Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) is reportedly considering a custody offering for holding cryptocurrency funds, according to Bloomberg. After the launch of bitcoin futures trading in May by the leading U.S.-based investment firm, the offer to launch custodian services for cryptos could be a big boost for the burgeoning universe of funds trading on cryptocurrencies. (See also: What Are Cryptocurrency Custody Solutions?)
Custodian services are commonly used by market participants to secure a variety of financial holdings. Amid the increasing interest in cryptocurrencies as an asset for investment and trading, the possibility of theft, hacking and loss of digital assets is becoming a major pain point for individuals as well as institutions. (See also: Hackers Have Stolen $1.1B in Crypto This Year.)
According to the people familiar with the matter, Goldman plans to offer a secure storage service targeted at cryptocurrency holders who can entrust their digital holdings to GS. The plan remains under discussion and no concrete timelines are known for launch of the service.
Goldman: Client Service Cited
“In response to client interest in various digital products we are exploring how best to serve them in this space,” a spokesman for Goldman Sachs said. “At this point we have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering.”
Market participants believe that the launch of the service by the leading investment bank has the potential to significantly spike the interest in cryptocurrency trading. It will also enable launch of other related trading services in cryptocurrency market—like prime brokerage, which is a set of complex bundle of financial services often offered by investment firms to clients like hedge funds. Goldman seems to be taking one step at a time, and one may see the financial giant adding new services over time to evolve into a full-service cryptocurrency service provider.
Other Players in the Game
Other Wall Street firms are trying to catch up. Nomura Holdings Inc. (NMR) launched Komainu, a new venture to help institutional investment in dealing and storing digital assets with a custody solution. Other banks—like Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Northern Trust Corp. (NTRS)—are also actively developing a host of crypto custody services, reports Bloomberg.
In May, leading crypto exchange Coinbase announced Coinbase Custody, a service that seeks to fix asset custody problems by partnering with an Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-regulated broker-dealer for third-party auditing and financial reporting validation. In May, the startup BitGo unveiled a new suite of custodial services aimed at institutional investors. (See also: Coinbase Tries to Reel in Institutional Investors.)