The U.S. investment bank and financial services company Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) will offer Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to its private wealth management group.
Bitcoin proving to be an unstoppable force
Mary Rich, recently appointed as Vice President of Digital Assets, Private Wealth Management Consumer and Wealth Management Division at the firm, expects rollout in Q2 this year.
“We are working closely with teams across the firm to explore ways to offer thoughtful and appropriate access to the ecosystem for private wealth clients, and that is something we expect to offer in the near term.”
She didn’t specify what services the bank would offer. Instead, Rich spoke about “physical bitcoin, derivatives, or traditional investment vehicles,” leaving open a broad scope of possibilities.
Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) said they plan to offer high net worth clients access to three Bitcoin funds. This includes two offerings from Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. A significant factor in this turn of events was customer demand.
Rich mentioned this was much the same with Goldman Sachs. Some clients had voiced their concern over deteriorating macroeconomic conditions and were looking for inflationary hedge assets.
“There’s a contingent of clients who are looking to this asset as a hedge against inflation, and the macro backdrop over the past year has certainly played into that.”
The Irony of Goldman Sachs selling crypto services
Analysts attributed the financial crisis of 2007-2008 to sub-prime mortgages. It followed that a decline in house prices triggered mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures. The knock-on effect saw the devaluation of sub-prime mortgage securities, putting pressure on holders of these assets.
A significant factor to this was the loose lending criteria applied by banks in the crisis run-up. Lenders were accused of negligence in offering loans to high-risk borrowers.
There was also the issue of banks selling these high-risk mortgages as securities, knowing they would likely fail.
Investigators accused Goldman Sachs of passing off sub-prime securities under the pretense of being backed by triple-A borrowers. As a result, the U.S. Department of Justice dished out a $5 billion fine in settlement for the deception. Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery said:
“This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail.”
Reports say Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin because of the hardship that came from this crisis. Nakamoto was also motivated by a view that the financial system is broken.
Despite the narrative that banks hate Bitcoin, in the end, they are left with little choice but to get involved.