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Barclays is talking to customers about launching cryptocurrency trading desk

on Apr 17, 2018
Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Barclays Plc (LON:BARC) has been gauging its customers’ interest in the British banking giant launching a cryptocurrency trading desk, Bloomberg has reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

According to the sources, Barclays has so far done a preliminary assessment of demand and feasibility. One of the sources said that starting a cryptocurrency trading desk would require approval from Tim Throsby, the head of Barclay’s investment bank, and potentially Barclays chief executive officer Jes Staley.

Yesterday, the bank told Bloomberg that it had no concrete plans to open such an operation.

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“We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market,” Barclays spokesman Andrew Smith said in an emailed statement, as quoted by the newswire.

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Assuming that the report is accurate, this would make Barclays one of the early movers in this new business among big banks. The Bloomberg report notes that other big European investment bank is known to be building such a desk.

Last December, the newswire reported that US investment bank Goldman Sachs was setting up a trading desk to make markets in digital currencies such as Bitcoin and was hoping to launch it by late June. However, that report was later refuted by Goldman’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

“What we said was we were opening – we, we're clearing futures in bitcoins for some of our futures clients. We'd clear them. We're a prime broker and so if our clients are going to do it, we're going to do it. A principle bitcoin business where we're going long and short, market making, so far we're not,” Blankfein in an interview with CNBC in late January.

In today’ trading, the Bitcoin price stood at $8,088.73, as of 12:44 BST, according to data from Coinmarketcap.


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