- The big banks will soon be seriously considering jumping into crypto trading, a former Citigroup CEO said.
- Vikram Pandit said the next one to three years will see major institutions get into the digital asset space.
- Wall Street banks have been on a crypto hiring spree, even if many still doubt the value of digital assets.
All major banks will soon be seriously considering plunging into the world of cryptocurrency trading and selling, according to the former boss of banking giant Citigroup.
Vikram Pandit said that in “one to three years, every large bank and, or securities firm is going to actively think about ‘shouldn’t I also be trading and selling cryptocurrency assets’,” according to a report from Bloomberg, whose reporter Haslinda Amin interviewed the executive at the Singapore Fintech Festival.
The finance executive’s comments are the latest sign that the traditional banking industry is warming to cryptocurrencies, which have boomed in 2021. Pandit led Citigroup as CEO from 2007 to 2012 and has since co-founded tech-focused investment firm The Orogen Group.
A range of financial institutions and companies have been getting into the crypto space over the last year, including BlackRock, Mastercard, and BNY Mellon.
A recent analysis, first reported by Bloomberg, found that the biggest Wall Street banks have been on a major crypto hiring spree, in a sign that the institutional adoption of digital assets could be about to kick into a higher gear.
Goldman Sachs hired 82 crypto professionals, Wells Fargo took on 74, Fidelity recruited 68, and JPMorgan hired 63, data company Revelio found after scraping online jobs advert information.
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Banks have been drawn in by the dramatic boom in cryptocurrencies over the last year. The combined market capitalization of the tokens on the market has risen from around $450 billion at the start of the year to more than $2.8 trillion, as of Monday.
Bloomberg reported that Pandit also spoke favorably of central bank digital currencies or CBDCs – a digital version of banknotes and coins that would let people hold and make payments in central bank money. He suggested it could make it easier and cheaper to move money around the world.
The former Citigroup boss has invested in crypto companies such as Coinbase, but not all banking heavyweights are keen on the space.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is a well-known skeptic and recently said he believes bitcoin is “worthless.” However, Dimon said his bank still wants to give clients “as clean as possible access” to digital assets as there is strong demand from customers.