Lloyd Blankfein has been playing pretty coy on this whole bitcoin business, one day tweeting encouragingly about it, the next expressing stylized discomfort. Even two months ago there was word going around that Goldman might dip a toe into cryptos, but it didn't necessarily amount to much. Until now:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to clear bitcoin futures contracts for certain clients when the derivatives go live in coming days, according to a person with knowledge of the firm’s plans.
So it's official: As we (kind of) suspected, Goldman will be the first of the big banks to get a taste of that hot bitcoin action (even if it's only going to be clearing trades for clients' futures contracts and avoiding building up any direct position itself). While the futures industry's top lobbying group whines that bitcoin's inevitable collapse will probably cut into the bottom line of clearinghouse participants who don't even want bitcoin futures in the first place, Lloyd and Co. will plow fearlessly into Cryptostan.
But Goldman isn't exactly shouting the news from the rooftops:
“Given that this is a new product, as expected we are evaluating the specifications and risk attributes for the bitcoin futures contracts as part of our standard due diligence process,” Tiffany Galvin, a spokeswoman for the bank, said in an emailed statement.
We've heard of of non-denial denials; this is basically a non-confirmation confirmation. Are we going to clear bitcoin futures for clients? Well, let's just say if we were going to clear bitcoin futures we'd do so with the same care and prudence as our shareholders expect from us in any other derivatives product. Also yes, yes we are.