Goldman Sachs Is Looking to Trade More Than Bitcoin Futures, COO Reveals

  • Leading US investment bank Goldman Sachs revealed it's looking to trade more than just bitcoin futures products.
  • This could imply the financial institution will trade bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies directly, although it's likelier it will choose other products.

Leading US investment bank Goldman Sachs is reportedly looking to get more involved with cryptocurrency-related products, beyond the publicly-traded derivatives it already offers. This, according to the company’s chief operating officer David Solomon.

Speaking to Bloomberg TV in China, Solomon revealed that Goldman Sachs “must evolve its business and adapt to the environment while responding to a question about cryptocurrencies.

According to Solomon, the financial institution has been approaching cryptocurrency-related projects “very cautiously.” He said:

We are clearing some futures around Bitcoin, talking about doing some other activities there, but it’s going very cautiously. We’re listening to our clients and trying to help our clients as they’re exploring those things too.

David Solomon

Recently, as covered by CryptoGlobe, Goldman Sachs’ chief executive officer Lloyd Blankein revealed that bitcoin isn’t for him and that he doesn’t own any, while noting that he would be able to explain why cryptocurrencies became mainstream, if they achieve such status.

The CEO revealed he has in the past passed on innovations – citing the cellphone one as an example – because he believed they were a fad, and admitted cryptocurrencies could replace fiat currency, just like precious metals like gold and silver were replaced.

Blankfein has in the past been against bitcoin, as he pointed to it and other cryptocurrencies as a “vehicle to perpetrate fraud.” Later on, he claimed to have a “level of discomfort” with the flagship cryptocurrency, but admitted to being open to it.

Notably, Solomon is said to be a clear frontrunner to succeed Lloyd Blankfien as Goldman Sachs’ chief executive officer. The financial institution’s stance towards cryptocurrencies has been changing over time, as in 2014 it argued the flagship cryptocurrency doesn’t qualify as money, while last year it revealed it’s hard for institutional investors to ignore it.

Recently, it has been reported the investment bank may be about to launch a bitcoin futures trading operation. While the exact date in which it would launch isn’t known, the move is reportedly an answer to popular demand as hedge funds, endowments and other institutional investors showed interest in trading crypto-related products. Per Solomon, Goldman Sachs already helps clients deal in publicly-traded bitcoin futures.

Overstock CEO Sells Shares in His Company to Invest in Blockchain Projects

Patrick Byrne, the chief executive officer of Overstock.com (OSTK), has recently lashed out at investors who questioned his sale of 900,000 of his ‘founders shares’ in the company. Justifying his move, he revealed he needed the funds to invest in blockchain projects.

According to Business Insider, Byrne recently sent a letter to shareholders after the company’s stock prices plunged over 21% this week to their lowest since 2012, after he revealed he sold 500,000 of his shares earlier this week.

On Friday, the CEO revealed he sold an additional 400,000 shares, meaning he sold over 15% of his stake in the company. Although Overstock’s shares recovered on Friday, May 17, Byrne’s letter to shareholders was notable. In it, he wrote:

I simply had to supplement my nominal salary with stock sales in order to fulfill personal commitments to invest personally in blockchain projects such as Medici Land Governance, along with a need to meet charitable pledges.

The CEO added that he doesn’t plan on giving such an explanation again, justifying that he owes shareholders “staying within the law and not making decisions based on inside information, not explanations of my life and projects outside Overstock.”

He noted that the “unanticipated stir” caused by his sale was unexpected, and added “I had no idea that shareholders would demand explanations of why and how I might want to use my cash derived from my labor and my property to pursue my ends in life.”

Byrne is notably Overstock’s largest shareholder, and noted he told investors a year ago he would be making “significant sales” to fund different projects, including those related to blockchain technologies and, presumably, cryptocurrencies.

In fact, the libertarian sold 775,000 of his shares in September of last year, before this week’s sale. The stock’s price has fallen roughly 90% from its record high in January of 2018, when Overstock was benefitting from its cryptocurrency ventures and accompanying the cryptocurrency market’s performance.

In November of last year, Byrne revealed he had plans to sell Overstock’s retail business and go “all-in” on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The CEO’s plan would see the company focus on its fully-owned subsidiary Medici Ventures, which has been invested in blockchain-related startups, after selling its retail business.

Overstock's price performance over the last two yearsSource: Yahoo Finance

Byrne has notably been battling short sellers targeting Overstock, as the firm competes with the likes of eBay and Amazon. Financial analytics firm S3 Partners has estimated short bets against it stand at $157 million, or 50% of its float. This makes it more targeted by short sellers than 99% of companies in the U.S.

Despite the company’s performance on exchanges, Overstock has since launched its tZERO security trading platform, and was one of the first companies to pay a “portion” of its taxes using bitcoin in Ohio.