Goldman Sachs gearing up to launch Bitcoin futures

Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs is taking a step into the cryptocurrency space as it looks to launch its own Bitcoin (BTC) futures product soon, The New York Times reported.

The bank will reportedly use its own funds to trade the futures in the cryptocurrency, although these will be on behalf of its clients. It is intriguing that Goldman will be taking this step as it has pronounced itself rather against BTC and the larger cryptocurrency market in the past.

BTC futures are a slightly controversial product since they seem to centralize the movement of the cryptocurrency, which was founded on the very principle of decentralization. In fact, several cryptocurrency enthusiasts have blamed the introduction of BTC futures in December for the massive fall in the value of the cryptocurrency market in January, when prices dropped by as much as 70% in some cases. However, other analysts said the futures market has given some legitimacy to the whole cryptocurrency market as a whole, dismissing fears that it’s some kind of bubble.

According to the New York Times report, the launch date of the Goldman Sachs BTC futures is not yet known but the initiative has the approval of the board of directors who signed off on the proposal a few days ago. The news outlet indicated that Goldman Sachs is about to create its own more flexible version of a BTC future known as a non-deliverable forward, which will eventually be delivered to its clients.

Speaking to The Times, Goldman Sachs executive Rana Yared explained that the decision to introduce BTC futures was taken after a huge amount of interest from its clients who showed the wish of holding the cryptocurrency as an alternative asset in their portfolios.

Goldman Sachs appeared to be serious on this initiative since they hired digital asset trader Justin Schmidt. Schmidt, who will be handling the bank’s daily operation, has previous experience at hedge fund Seven Eight Capital before he entered the cryptocurrency trading market last year.

This development demonstrates the continued involvement of Goldman Sachs in the crypto market. CEO Lloyd Blankfein had already stated that the bank was clearing BTCn futures for its clients whilst any further action on the proposal would depend on clearance by U.S. regulators.

Yared also indicated that the decision was not taken lightly: “For almost every person involved, there has been personal scepticism brought to the table. It is not a new risk that we don’t understand. It is just a heightened risk that we need to be extra aware of here.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

Circle snaps up cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex for $400M

The rumors are true, Poloniex has indeed gone full Circle.

On Monday, the Goldman Sachs-funded payment company announced that it has acquired Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange for $400 million in a bid to extend “its commitment to a new vision for global finance.”

The acquisition was first reported by Modern Consensus in early February, although it was shot down as fake news. Now, the two companies are coming clean, and making some pretty big promises about scaling “risk, compliance, and technical operations.”

Poloniex, one of the most well established cryptocurrency exchanges, is the latest addition in Circle’s product offerings, which also include Circle Pay, Circle Trade, and the upcoming Circle Invest. According to Circle, “Poloniex addresses another key element of Circle’s product foundation: An open global token marketplace.”

Poloniex is the 14th largest exchange by 24-hour volume, according to CoinMarketCap data. Acquisition aside, Poloniex said it remains “committed to preserving the features and functionality that first drew interest” to the platform.

“Any updates we make in the course of this transition will be behind-the-scenes and focused on strengthening user experience, platform performance, and security,” Poloniex said in a blog post.

Scalability, reliability, robustness

Goldman Sachs-backed Circle is no stranger to cryptocurrency. In 2015, the payment platform is the first to receive New York’s elusive BitLicense. Circle also holds UK’s first virtual currency license, which was awarded to the company in 2016.

The Poloniex acquisition is expected to boost Circle’s presence in the cryptocurrency market, all while revitalizing the trading platform’s fortunes. The first order of business, according to Circle co-founders Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville, is to “address customer support.” Circle also plans to scale Poloniex “up and out” via market expansion, localization, increased token listings, and adding connectivity to fiat currencies including USD, EURO, and GBP.

“We envision a robust multi-sided distributed marketplace that can host tokens which represent everything of value: physical goods, fundraising and equity, real estate, creative productions such as works of art, music and literature, service leases and time-based rentals, credit, futures, and more,” according to Circle.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.