Barclays traders say they're building out a crypto desk- but the bank says it has nothing in the works
- At least two people have been working on a digital asset project at Barclays, according to their LinkedIn profiles.
- One says he's been "hired to produce a business plan for integrating a digital assets trading desk into Barclays' markets business."
- The bank said it has no plans to launch a crypto trading desk.
- Investment banks across the industry have been assessing the viability of getting into crypto in one way or another.
LONDON - Barclays appears to have had at least two former traders looking at the viability of a possible cryptocurrency trading desk within its investment bank.
Matthieu Jobbe Duval and Chris Tyrer have been working on a "digital asset project" since January, according to their LinkedIn profiles. A source told Business Insider that the pair have been looking at cryptocurrencies.
Tyrer, formerly global head of energy trading at Barclays, is the head of the digital assets project according to his LinkedIn, while Duval is a consultant on the project.
Duval, a former Barclays oil trader, says on his LinkedIn that he has been "hired to produce a business plan for integrating a digital assets trading desk into Barclays' markets business: revenue opportunity, competitive landscape, budgeting and planning for delivery, I.T. buildout, capital & balance sheet impact."
Duval removed the listing from his LinkedIn profile after Business Insider approached the bank for comment. Duval declined to comment when contacted by BI but said the details listed on his profile were "accurate."
Tyrer declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.
A Barclays spokesman said the bank had no plans to launch a crypto trading desk but confirmed Tyrer and Duval had been working at the bank.
Bloomberg reported in April that Barclays was talking to clients about whether they would be interested in trading cryptocurrencies.
Barclays' exploratory work comes as many major investment banks rush to get a handle on the new world of cryptocurrencies, which have reaped huge fortunes for some but carry large risks. Goldman Sachs is reportedly planning to set up a bitcoin trading desk, JPMorgan recently appointed its first head of crypto-asset strategy, and Morgan Stanley recently poached a 12-year Credit Suisse veteran to be its head of digital asset markets.
Investment banks are attracted by the eye-catching returns of bitcoin in 2017 and have begun to seriously assess cryptos as a potential new asset class despite poor price performance this year.
An investor who follows the space closely told Business Insider: "Most banks are working on something. I suspect it takes a long time before the main committees of the bank will accept crypto though."
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