The push for widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies got a boost Wednesday when U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs Group GS, -0.27% announced it would be opening a cryptocurrency trading desk.
In an interview with the New York Times, Goldman executive Rana Yared, who will oversee the operation, admitted she wasn’t completely sold on digital currencies. “I would not describe myself as a true believer who wakes up thinking bitcoin will take over the world,” Yared told the newspaper.
This is a sentiment that Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein has shared in the past. In a November interview with CNBC, Blankfein said “maybe bitcoin is a kind of bubble,” adding that he is not comfortable with it.
The company will allow clients to trade bitcoin as a non-deliverable forward, where there is no physical exchange of the underlying asset but an exchange of the currency it is quoted in—likely U.S. dollars—on the settlement date of the forward.
Proponents of bitcoin have hailed the news as a success for the growth of digital currencies. “I think it’s a fantastic sign for the industry,” said Michael Moro, chief executive of Genesis Global Trading, a digital-currency trading platform..
“There’s been some level of sentiment amongst institutional investors that the asset class isn’t legitimate until the big banks get involved. And while they’re still not trading the underlying, Goldman getting involved in the forwards is an important first step,” Moro said.
Moro added that he has had discussions on various levels with four other banks regarding cryptocurrency trading.
The news helped digital-currency prices climb higher Thursday, with bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.78% taking aim at $10,000, a level not seen since March 8.
A single bitcoin last exchanged hands at $9,719.88, up 6%, since Wednesday’s levels at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the Kraken exchange.
Ether breaks $700
As bitcoin looks to test topside resistance, altcoins are rallying with them. This morning, ether ETHUSD, +1.62% which runs on the Ethereum network, traded above $700 for the first time since March 12. The token that is distributed in most initial coin offerings, or ICOs, will continue to flourish as coin offerings increase, according to one analyst.
“Should the ICO trend continue, I predict initial coin offerings to take over traditional ways of fundraising and Ethereum to reach new dizzy highs,” wrote Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets U.K.
Ether last traded at $761.76, up 12%.
What are altcoins and futures doing?
After adding 15% yesterday, Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, -1.55% is up 3.2% at $1,497.50, Litecoin LTCUSD, -1.85% is up 7.1% at $161.54 and Ripple’s XRP coin XRPUSD, -1.23% has added 3.1%, last trading at 88 cents.
Futures recorded solid gains Thursday. The Cboe’s May contract XBTK8, -0.78% finished up 6.1% at $9,675 and the CME Group Inc. May contract BTCK8, -0.72% closed up 5.7% at $9,675.