Global investment bank Barclays has halted its alleged plans to roll out a cryptocurrency trading desk and other related digital asset endeavors. The project is now “on ice” due to crypto market volatility and decreased investor interest due to the seemingly endless bear market.
The digital assets project was initially moved to the back burner in September when Chris Tyrer, the bank’s energy trading head, left Barclays. While the UK financial institution never formally announced a crypto trading desk was underway, Tyrer’s LinkedIn profile strongly suggests otherwise. He lists the details of his position at Barclays as “hired to produce a business plan for integrating a digital assets trading desk into Barclays’ marketing business.”
Barclays denies that plans for a trading desk were ever in the works and Tyrer either by request or his own volition has removed this description from his profile. While the bank distances itself from the idea of a crypto trading desk, some sources say the financial services giant has already “conducted preliminary demand and feasibility assessments.”
What is not just a rumor is Barclays’ patent-pending blockchain system that would allow banks to issue and store stablecoins (crypto backed by fiat). Many mega-companies, financial institutions, and governments feel anything cryptocurrency-related is risky while investing time and effort into developing blockchain systems has presented itself as a more sensible and necessary route.
No one wants to be left behind when cryptocurrency finally does take off, but while the digital assets remain unregulated banks and companies don’t want to be associated with facilitating high-risk investing, fraud, and other criminal activity.
Jes Staley, Barclays CEO, recent comments echo these resounding sentiments of FOMO mixed with caution:
“Cryptocurrency is a real challenge for us because, on the one hand, there is the innovative side of it and wanting to stay in the forefront of technology’s improvement in finance. On the other side of it, there is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of.”