Banks are Enthusiastic Towards Crypto, Waiting for Regulators to Invest

According to Rebecca Harding, a financial journalist and the acclaimed author of “The Weaponization of Trade: the Great Unbalancing of policy and economics,” major financial institutions are waiting to invest in the crypto market.

Harding, who operates as the CEO of Coriolis Technologies, a trade technology company that provides services to major banks and corporations in the traditional finance sector, said in an interview with Forbes contributor Billy Bambrough that the vast majority of banks are healthily skeptical and curious about crypto.

She explained that banks have started to acknowledge the need to invest in the market to keep up with developments in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, but are currently awaiting the green light from regulators and financial authorities.

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley on the Sidelines

As CCN reported, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley, three of the largest investment banks in the US, have already developed a wide range of products including a trusted custodian solution to serve institutional investors in the cryptocurrency market.

Morgan Stanley is said to have developed the infrastructure required to provide complex derivatives tied to Bitcoin, with the plans of launching Bitcoin swap trading as soon as the bank sees enough demand from institutions for crypto.

To remain relevant in the fintech space and connected to the cryptocurrency space, Harding said that banks are closely working with newly emerging fintech companies to study the cryptocurrency market and will soon allocate capital into the asset class.

“A lot of banks are healthily skeptical about bitcoin and blockchain. They see the need to invest in it to keep up with technological developments, but they’re waiting to see where regulators fall and are working closely with financial technology (fintech) companies to make sure they’re not behind the curve. There is a lot of money being poured into [blockchain and cryptocurrencies],” she explained.

Korea Bitcoin

In July, Yonhap, a mainstream media outlet in South Korea, reported that commercial banks in the country are holding more than $2 billion in Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Bank of Korea, the central bank of the country, stated in a report that the amount banks have invested in cryptocurrencies is relatively small in comparison to their investment in other equity markets. But, local investors have expressed their optimism towards the fact that leading banks hold a significant sum of cryptocurrencies.

“The amount of crypto-asset investment is not really big, compared with other equity markets, and local financial institutions’ exposure to possible risks of digital assets is insignificant. Against this backdrop, we expect crypto-assets to have a limited impact on the South Korean financial market,” the Bank of Korea report read.

Banks are Concerned

Harding emphasized that a growing number of banks have begun to invest and hold cryptocurrencies because they see the risk of their business models rendering irrelevant in the years to come if they fail to address the needs and demands of millennials and the new generation customers.

“Banks are at risk of becoming nothing more than large fintech companies, people in the industry tell me,” she said.

If a leading market like the US imposes a major change in its regulation to further legitimize the cryptocurrency market, possibly by enabling a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), experts believe that more banks will acquire cryptocurrencies as a long-term investment.