Goldman set to join bitcoin stampede with plans to offer cryptos to wealthy investors

Banking powerhouse Goldman Sachs is close to offering its first investment vehicles for bitcoin and other digital assets to clients of its private wealth management group, CNBC reported, citing an internal company memo.

According to the report, the bank aims to begin offering investments in the emerging asset class in the second quarter of the 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,” Mary Rich, who was recently named global head of digital assets for Goldman’s private wealth management division, told the media this week.

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She added that Goldman is looking at ultimately offering a “full spectrum” of investments in bitcoin and digital assets, “whether that’s through the physical bitcoin, derivatives or traditional investment vehicles.”

This means that Goldman will become the second big bank to offer bitcoin exposure after Morgan Stanley started offering clients opportunities to invest in the emerging asset class less than two weeks ago.

“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,” Rich told CNBC. “There are also a large contingent of clients who feel like we’re sitting at the dawn of a new internet in some ways and are looking for ways to participate in this space.”

Goldman’s move comes as bitcoin, which was created in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, has skyrocketed to unexpected heights, recently touching an all-time high at $61,556.59 on CoinDesk. At about $58,600 on Thursday, the price of the crypto is up 3% over the past week and a staggering 810% higher than one year ago.

READ MORE: Visa settles 1st payment transaction with crypto in ‘milestone’ move for industry

Major financial institutions have lately rushed to embrace cryptocurrencies after years of skepticism due to the digital assets’ volatile nature. Earlier this week, Visa enabled payments in stablecoin USD Coin (USDC), while PayPal rolled out a new service which introduces cryptocurrencies as a form of payment and enables US buyers to use their crypto holdings to pay for goods with millions of online merchants.

Visa’s rival credit card giant Mastercard announced in February that it plans to allow payments in certain cryptocurrencies on its network this year.

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