Banking Giants Goldman Sachs and Commerzbank Take New Steps Towards Crypto
The American investment bank Goldman Sachs is taking another step toward the crypto industry with a private meeting between its CEO and crypto exchange FTX’s founder & CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Meanwhile, German bank Commerzbank also appears to be strengthening its crypto offering after it applied for a crypto license earlier this year.
The meeting between Sam Bankman-Fried and Goldman Sachs’ CEO David Solomon reportedly focused on whether Goldman could advise on future funding rounds for FTX, and on a potential public listing of the exchange.
Notably, the Goldman Sachs CEO also offered to advise FTX in discussions with US regulators, including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which oversees the derivatives market. The offer comes after FTX, in March, filed a proposal to the CFTC that would allow it to sell and settle crypto derivatives directly, without traditional intermediaries like Goldman Sachs.
The news of the meeting between Goldman Sachs’ CEO David Solomon was first reported by the Financial Times on Thursday, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
According to the people, the meeting was held “in the Caribbean.” FTX last year moved its global headquarters from Hong Kong to the Caribbean nation of Bahamas, with Bankman-Fried praising the island nation for its “progressive, forward-looking” crypto regulations.
Commerzbank applies for German crypto license
Meanwhile, German banking giant Commerzbank earlier this year applied for a “crypto custody license” from the country’s financial regulator, BaFin, local news outlet Börsen-Zeitung reported last week.
If Commerzbank can secure the license, it would make it the first bank in the country to take a serious step towards the adoption of digital assets.
According to the report, at least 25 applications for the license are pending the regulator’s decision. It remains unclear when a license could be granted to Commerzbank.
The latest move by Commerzbank comes after it was reported in December last year that the bank was working “intensively” on crypto-related projects.
‘A race within traditional banking’
According to Mikkel Morch, executive director at crypto hedge fund ARK36, the moves by the banking giants are just two out of several reports recently of banks taking steps in the direction of crypto adoption in countries where this is possible.
“Last week, such an application was submitted by a bank in Portugal. Now, one of the largest banks in Germany wants to offer crypto custody and exchange services. Where traditional and large banks until very recently have seen cryptos as competition and shied away from it, we now start to see adoption even from some of the most conservative players in the banking field,” Morch said in an emailed comment shared with Cryptonews.com.
He added that the moves can be seen as “the beginnings of a race within the traditional banking field to gain a competitive edge” by becoming the first bank to offer crypto in a jurisdiction.
“Inevitably, this will only speed up the adoption of crypto as a mainstream financial service,” Morch further said, adding that “[…] it also shows that the demand for it is already so high across the whole spectrum of banking clients that it compels entities that were previously hostile to crypto to completely change course.”
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