Category Archives: Barclays

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Barclays Quash Crypto Trading Desk Rumour But Monitor Developments

Barclays bank has confirmed that it has no plans to set up a cryptocurrency trading desk as previously rumored.

British banking giant Barclays appears to be the latest to enter the blockchain arena, with Barclays UK recently announcing a new ventures unit to study “disruptive technology”. However, despite a report from CoinDesk earlier this month indicating that Barclays was monitoring client responses to the possibility of opening a trading desk for the cryptocurrency, the bank doesn’t appear ready to take the next step, and still seems to be monitoring the space.

Barclays’ spokesman Andrew Smith said in an emailed statement last month:

“We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market,”

In fact, Barclays CEO Jes Stately regards a move towards cryptocurrency as a “real challenge.” UK media outlet, Financial News, reports that the comments were made in response to shareholders’ questions, during the banks annual meeting. He commented:

“…on the one hand, there is the innovative side of it and wanting to stay in the forefront of technology’s improvement in finance… On the other side of it, there is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of.”

It is exactly these activities the governments around the world are currently legislating against in order to make the cryptocurrency space both safe and fit for purpose. Stately says that the bank is looking into cryptocurrency related business, but sees the regulatory and compliance issues as something which needs addressing.

Other major banks such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have expresses concerns and strong views in the past and have often been scathing about bitcoin and other digital currencies. There are, however, ex-bank executives moving towards the new financial ktechnology.  Ex-chief of JPMorgan’s global energy trading desk, Daniel Masters, has recently suggested that cryptocurrencies could no longer be ignored by central banks and governments, adding that both the story and the technology is there and it is “convincing.”

Image Courtesy:  https://pixabay.com/en/bank-money-finance-shares-save-2907728/  James Qube

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Barclays UK New Ventures Unit to Explore “Disruptive” Themes

British bank Barclays appears to be the latest to enter the blockchain arena, with Barclays UK announcing a new ventures unit to study “disruptive technology”.

The announcement appeared to dance closely around the blockchain topic without directly pointing to cryptocurrency, explaining its mission to innovate in pursuit of “disruptive” themes within the newly created Barclays UK Ventures unit.

According to the announcement, the unit would “accelerate the growth of new business lines… working independently of traditional units” and “develop new customer propositions around major areas of disruptive technology”.

“We intend to drive this initiative by building a strong team of technologists, developers and entrepreneurs within BUKV, mandated to operate independently of, but in partnership with, our core operations,” explained Ben Davey,  CEO of Barclays UK Ventures.

Notably missing from the announcement were key terms connected to cryptocurrency, although a sheepish reference to startup operations was unsurprising. It could have been a cautious move, given that it was only two years ago when legal charges were brought against the bank after failing to deliver on hefty claims on a separate venture.

Allegations that the Barclays company had rigged the stock market, committed market manipulation and price tampering, were silenced with a USD 70 million settlement paid by Barclays to the state of New York and to the Securities Exchange Commission.

Even with the existing controversy surrounding the technology, banks will be keen to get a foot in the door in the cryptocurrency space, especially when financial leaders like Mastercard recently began a blockchain exploration initiative.

 

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