David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, has forecast a “big evolution” in how the United States government regulates Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in relation to financial institutions.
In an interview with CNBC today, Solomon was quizzed on the banking giant’s moves to adopt Bitcoin (BTC). The CEO kept his cards close to his chest but conveyed that the bank is keeping a close eye on digital currencies amid increasing demand for crypto exposure from its clients:
“We continue to think about digital currency and the digitization of money in a very proactive way, and in that context, we are engaged with our clients, and we look at all this through the centricity of ‘what do our clients need?.’”
The current U.S. restrictions surrounding financial institutions forbid them from offering direct exposure to volatile and risky asset classes such as Bitcoin. Due to these regulations, which deem crypto as a high-risk asset class, financial institutions can only offer exposure to crypto in the form of custody positions in digital assets such as securities or exchange-traded funds.
However, Solomon noted the crypto space is evolving and foresees this situation changing over time, but he didn’t want to speculate on what that actually entails:
“I think there will be a big evolution. As to how this evolves in the coming years, we operate in the rules we have. I’m not gonna speculate on where the rules will go for regulated financial institutions, but we’re gonna continue to find ways to serve our clients as we move forward.”
The bank announced last week that Goldman’s private wealth management division is close to offering Bitcoin exposure to larger clients with portfolios of $25 million or more. A “full-spectrum” of investment options in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is set to roll in Q2 of this year.
Former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Jay Clayton also noted recently that regulatory environment surrounding crypto is due for a shakeup, using similar terminology to Solomon:
“Where digital assets land at the end of the day […] will be driven in part by regulation — both domestic and international — and I’m speaking as a citizen now that regulation will come in this area both directly and indirectly whether it’s through how these are held at banks, security accounts, taxation, and the like. We will see this regulatory environment evolve.”
The 2021 Bitcoin bull market saw Goldman Sachs reopen its cryptocurrency trading desk in March after the firm originally set it up during the 2017 bull run when Bitcoin hit $20,000 and then subsequently crashed. The bank also filed for an ETF that includes some Bitcoin exposure on March 26.