Goldman Sachs Leaves Russia, Reportedly Set to Increase Crypto Focus
Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs is reportedly stepping up its work on crypto by exploring whether it should offer over-the-counter (OTC) crypto options. The news came as the firm said it is leaving Russia, becoming the first major Wall Street bank to do so after the war in Ukraine started.
The investment bank’s exploration of crypto options is an indication of the bank’s deepening participation in the world of crypto trading. The bank is one of just a few major investment banks that are looking into offering such crypto derivatives products, Bloomberg reported, citing undisclosed sources.
The product being explored at the moment, so-called bilateral options, would allow trades to be customized for institutional crypto holders such as hedge funds or miners, for example to hedge risks, the report added.
The news of the possible new venture into crypto options comes after the bank’s head of crypto trading, Andrei Kazantsev, said during a panel hosted by CoinDesk in December last year that “the next big step that we are envisioning is the development of options markets.”
Meanwhile, news also emerged today that the major investment bank is leaving Russia as a result of sanctions imposed on the country.
“Goldman Sachs is winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements,” the investment bank said in an email sent to Reuters.
The bank has previously disclosed that it has a credit exposure to Russia of USD 650m.
Shortly after news of Goldman’s exit from Russia emerged, JP Morgan, another major Wall Street investment bank, announced that it is also leaving the country.
JP Morgan is “actively unwinding Russian business,” a statement from the company said on Thursday. The bank has about 160 staff members in Moscow.
Meanwhile, Citigroup said on Wednesday this week that it is continuing to operate in the country on “a more limited basis.” The bank has long planned to sell its franchise in the country, but the plans have now been complicated by sanctions, the Financial Times reported.
“We are running out of options […] shutting down everything might be our only option,” an unnamed source said to be working for Citigroup was quoted as saying.
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(Updated 11 March at 08:26 UTC with news about JP Morgan)