Each year, Goldman Sachs holds a survey among its interns to scan their views on just about anything, from their dietary preferences to their views on cryptocurrencies. According to 2021’s annual survey, at least 21% of the participants had invested in cryptocurrencies, and 34% of the surveyed think that crypto should be considered an asset class.
According to the article by Business Insider, the results of the survey are striking. Previously, financial biggies have been known to try to curb even as little as using encrypted messengers like WhatsApp among their employees. And now, they’re up against a whole new wave of youngsters choosing to trade past the brokerage counter altogether, opting for the ease and convenience offered by their crypto wallets.
However opposed to the impending ‘threat’ that crypto-assets may represent, many financial institutions have no other choice but to look into crypto themselves, eventually getting sucked in by the groundbreaking vision behind it and the many advantages it has over fiat. Citigroup, for instance, has established a crypto team and has already appointed an executive for it. Should the get-in-on-crypto trend catch on among other financial big guys, it could easily lead to a serious clash of interest in the fiat sphere, and ultimately, to a series of crackdowns.
However, that hasn’t happened yet. At least, not to the extent where you could call the odd ban or restriction cropping up here and there detrimental to the entire crypto industry.
Meanwhile, we have some insight from Reed Alexander and Alex Morrell. They shared some first-hand views on crypto among the surveyed, as well as the current attitude to digital assets among banks.
What prompted you to look into young Wall Street trading crypto?
Reed: Alex and I had seen headlines about senior folks on Wall Street making bank on personal crypto trades. We were curious what junior bankers and financial advisors were up to — and how their firms might be thinking about oversight. Wall Street typically has a lot of rules around what workers can invest in, but we discovered that few have any guidelines in place right now that pertain to digital assets.
How are these Wall Streeters able to get around the red tape and invest in crypto?
Reed: Cryptocurrency is still very much an emerging asset class, and many on Wall Street are scratching their heads over how to police it. Using digital wallets instead of their brokerage accounts is one avenue they’re taking to buy crypto without having to turn over any information about their investments to their employers. But it’s unclear how long this flexible environment may last.
How are banks responding to these crypto trades their employees are making?
Alex: It’s something of a mixed bag, but primarily it’s watch and wait right now. Since most banks don’t have significant business operations involving crypto, they’re not taking great pains to clamp down on employee trading. That could change if banks get the go-ahead from regulators to embrace digital currencies. We’re already seeing some signs of this at places like Goldman Sachs, which has been more eager to pursue crypto than some of its competitors.
It looks like at this point, there is no stopping the crypto train. With the likes of Goldman Sachs opting for crypto over “traditional” brokerage, there is no more denying that digital assets are here to stay and make a hell of a difference in the long run.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and should not be taken as investment advice. Do your own research before taking any investment decisions.
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