Goldman Sachs has customers getting ready to trade its bitcoin derivative, but it’s not rushing to push more products

Quick Take

  • Goldman Sachs is onboarding clients for its bitcoin derivatives product
  • But the firm is not looking into a similar contract for ether, despite some reports

Goldman Sachs, the white-shoe New York investment bank, has been a darling of the cryptocurrency world, with many observers waiting with bated breath for the firm to make a big splash into the market. 

But it doesn’t look like the firm is in any rush to roll out new tradable products tied to the market, according to a direct source. The firm, notably, announced its crypto trading desk in May. At the time, the bank said the desk would offer bitcoin non-deliverable forward contracts, which is a type of derivative product tied to futures, to start. The Block can report Goldman Sachs has been onboarding a small number of clients to actively trade the product, according to the source. It is also exploring ways to custody cryptocurrency for customers. 

Earlier this month, crypto site Abacus Journal reported that Goldman Sachs was “actively exploring the creation of” a non-deliverable forward for ether. A source familiar with the situation told The Block this isn’t accurate.

To be sure, it’s not even clear if Goldman could even build such a product at this time since futures for ether do not trade on any regulated exchange in the U.S. Cboe Global Markets was telling market makers it was close to launching an ether futures product earlier this year. That product has yet to be announced. 

As for Goldman Sachs, a source says the firm’s clients aren’t necessarily looking for new products. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in the market. The source said customers would call senior bankers and traders for direction on where the space is going and to learn how they can break into the market.

That’s a stark contrast from $6 trillion asset-manager BlackRock, whose CEO Larry Fink said zero of the firm’s customers expressed interest in bitcoin markets.  

“I don’t believe any client has sought out crypto exposure,” Fink said in July. “I’ve not heard from one client who says, ‘I need to be in this.'”

This post has been updated to clarify that Goldman is onboarding clients to actively trade its bitcoin NDF contracts.