Bank of America Launches Crypto Research Team

Bank of America Launches Crypto Research Team

    Bank of America is the latest US banking behemoth to outline plans to enter the cryptocurrency space. Just a few months after bashing bitcoin for its enhanced volatility and supposed impracticality, Bank of America has reportedly set up a new designated research team in a bid to cash on the growing frenzy around the digital asset market. The new crypto research team would be headed by Alkesh Shah and the focus of the research would also include technology tied to the digital asset market.

    Bank of America joins the growing list of US-based banking giants betting big on the crypto ecosystem. Some of the top US banks including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon, and many others have started offering some form of Bitcoin and crypto investment vehicles for their clients. As previously reported, Morgan Stanley enabled its institutional investors to receive BTC exposure through several funds. Another former critique – Goldman Sachs – even filed for a Bitcoin ETF, while JPMorgan – whose CEO called Bitcoin a “fraud” years ago – will reportedly launch an actively managed BTC fund.

  Citing an internal memo, Bloomberg reported earlier that the giant US multinational investment bank is the next in line to join the cryptocurrency bandwagon. According to the coverage, Bank of America has already established a new dedicated team to research cryptocurrencies. Although few details are known as of now, Bloomberg said Alkesh Shah will be at the forefront of the new endeavor. He will report to Michael Maras – currently leading fixed-income, currencies, and commodities research at the bank.

    Candace Browning, head of global research for Bank of America, said in the memo:

Cryptocurrencies and digital assets constitute one of the fastest-growing emerging technology ecosystems. We are uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership due to our strong industry research analysis, market-leading global payments platform, and our blockchain expertise.”

    A spokeswoman from the bank confirmed the news but failed to provide more details about the project. This development could go in the growing popularity of the “change of heart” category as the Wall Street behemoth has bashed the cryptocurrency industry for years. Most recently, just a few short months ago, a paper published by the bank called bitcoin “too volatile and impractical.” Furthermore, the document asserted that the primary cryptocurrency had failed as a store of value. Now, though, BofA seems to be joining other giant US banks with this significantly more favorable approach.

Crypto Demand Among Institutional Investors at ATH

    The demand for crypto products from institutions has reached an ATH and despite any regulatory framework in place, these banking giants have found a way to offer compliant investment vehicles to institutional clients. The likes of JP Morgan who is not a big Bitcoin fan was forced to offer a Bitcoin fund amid growing client’s demand, Goldman Sachs that had called Bitcoin a speculative asset in the past now lists the digital currency among the best-performing assets.

    In absence of a regulated Bitcoin product, Wall Street giants have turned to private crypto funds that buy cryptocurrencies and issue shares against them for investors to trade-in. The demand for a Bitcoin ETF has also seen a massive surge in the recent past where former regulatory heads have also called upon SEC to approve the Bitcoin ETF to ensure investor protection and bring more transparency in the market.

    The surging investor demand and rising Wall Street participation in cryptocurrencies have also forced regulatory bodies to look into crypto regulations. Many expect SEC to lay the groundwork for crypto regulations soon.

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