Opinions

Wall Street is Packing Up & Leaving the Bitcoin Scene

It was only last year that a crypto future seemed inevitable as company after company was gearing to enter the cryptoverse and embracing it in all its decentralized glory. That is until the crypto market took quite the beating in this year. 2018 gave cryptocurrencies several things, wake up calls, blood baths, frauds, regulatory crackdowns, everything except relief. Safe to say 2018 wasn’t the finest moment for cryptos. And the repercussions of all of this can be seen, as Wall Street silently makes its way out of the crypto market.

Wall Street was only just beginning to warm up to the whole idea of crypto assets but according to the Bloomberg reports, the fact that the market has been continuously battered by the news of fraud and imminent regulatory crackdowns, has forced Wall Street’s withdrawal from the crypto scene.

2017 was THE year for cryptos, where the market insanely enjoyed what was probably the biggest bull run in its history. And owing to that, quiet a few mainstream financial companies projected their interest and intention to jump on the crypto bandwagon. Names like Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Investments and Barclays Bank Plc. were all affiliated with reports to open cryptocurrency divisions. Except only now, they seem to want nothing to do with it. Here’s a look at all the “could’ve beens” from these companies.

Goldman Sachs’ Trading Desk

The investment bank was one of the first few Wall Street firms, whose interest was piqued by Bitcoin futures. There were even rumors floating around the market that the firm was working on developing an independent crypto trading desk. Goldman Sachs even struck a partnership with Galaxy Digital and led a $57 million series B investment in custodian firm BitGo Holdings Inc., in a bid to offer custody services. Jumping to a year later, it hasn’t yet offered crypto trading.

Citigroup Inc.- Digital Asset Receipts

This New York-based firm also reportedly jumped in on the crypto scene with a crypto-based product that was specifically designed to aid asset management firms and hedge funds in reducing the risk which they are exposed to when they make an investment in crypto. The ‘ghost’ product was known as Digital Asset Receipts and was expected to provide crypto investors with a means to keep tabs on their investments and further, offer an additional layer of legitimacy and trust to the inexperienced asset class.

Barclays Inc. and Its Crypto Trading Desk

Even Her Majesty’s British banks were interested in the crypto bandwagon. The London-based Barclays Inc. exhibited great interest in crypto during the boom of course. It went as far as to hire energy traders Chris Tyrer and Matthieu Jobbe Duval to help lead its digital assets division. And both of the new hires were to look into opportunities where the bank could venture into the crypto world. Word on the street was that they were also to provide recommendations for the development of a crypto trading desk. All speculations of course as Tyrer ended up leaving earlier this year, while Duval remains with the firm. In addition to Tyrer quitting, Barclays also denied any rumors of the crypto trading desk.

Considering that 2018 has been a wild ride for the crypto market, with about $700 billion being wiped off, Wall Streets’ retraction from it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Only time will tell what 2019 holds for cryptos.

Abeer Anwaar

Abeer holds a Bachelors degree in Media studies and covers blockchain startups for BlockPublisher. An optimist, excels in the art of the written word and swears by the joy of all things sweet. Contact the editor at editor.startups@blockpublisher.com

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