Barclays ponder over working with cryptocurrencies

By Jeff Davies

Barclays is eyeing a move into cryptocrurency trading, following US rival Goldman Sachs in the fast-emerging field.

The British bank has sounded out potential clients about setting up a cryptocurrency trading desk, in what would be a first for a European investment bank.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Barclays has so far only done a preliminary assessment of demand and feasibility.

“We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market,” spokesman Andrew Smith told Bloomberg in an emailed statement.

Bloomberg‘s report also notes that, should Barclays decide to open a trading desk for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, both investment bank boss Tim Throsby and Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley would most likely have to sign off on the venture.

Europe’s big boys embrace crypto craze

Some of Europe’s biggest venture capital firms are buying into sales of new virtual coins or asking their investors to give them the freedom to do so, in a sign of mainstream investor backing for the booming but controversial crowd-funding tool.

Bitcoin this morning is holding its head above the $8,000 line. Ethereum is up at $532 and Ripple has passed the all-important $0.70 line.

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