Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) has shut down its cryptocurrency trading platform. Banks have been trying to tap the virtual currency trading sector but this move by Barclays has put the breaks to the momentum. At the start of this year, the bank had a group of senior members find out how to incorporate virtual currency trading in the business.
However, now it seems that Barclays is having apprehensions regarding continuing the project and has put an end to it.
Compliance & regulatory issues may have stopped cryptocurrency trading project
The former head of energy trading at Barclays, Chris Tyrer took a full-time role in the venture of Barclays digital assets project at the start of this year. However, Tyrer left the project and the bank last month after Barclays decided to put an end to the cryptocurrency trading project. The bank is yet to come out with any comment following this decision.
Apart from Tyrer, Marvin Barth, Barclays’ head of FX and emerging markets macro strategy, Lee Braine investment bank’s senior technologist and Matthieu Jobbe Duval, a consultant also worked on this project. These four members explored whether banks can use digital currencies as a viable asset class for the long term. These team members wanted to find out whether the clients of Barclays had any interest in digital assets and the possible IT infrastructure required for incorporating this new technology.
At the annual general meeting of the bank, chief executive of Barclays Jes Staley said, “There is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of.” As per his views, the bank remained worried about the regulatory and compliance issues that surrounded the asset class.
Will Barclays’ decision affect its rivals?
There is a possibility that this decision of Barclays’ to shut down its ambitious cryptocurrency trading project will be particularly of great interest to its rivals. Many of the bankers are already exploring ways to gain profit from this new explosion in virtual currency interest.
In May this year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) created a new position of the crypto-strategy head and appointed Olive Harris for the post. Similarly, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) stated that it is planning to open a desk for cryptocurrency trading.