Goldman Sachs Calls Crypto A ‘New Asset Class’, Marking Major Shift In Tone

Slowly but surely, renowned investment banks are creeping toward the reluctant acceptance that bitcoin is, in fact, a thing that is here to stay. A top executive at Wall Street megabank Goldman Sachs is now indicating that crypto is a “new asset class” and an “investable asset” .

It’s quite interesting to see a stalwart investment bank passing such a judgment on a financial tool specifically developed to render Wall Street banks worthless. Moreover, it represents a remarkable shift in Goldman Sachs’ tone after asserting that cryptocurrencies are not an asset class in May last year.

In a new report, Goldman Sachs’ global head of digital assets Mathew McDermott, observed that while bitcoin has its own risks because it’s still a new technology, the cryptocurrency is “now considered an investable asset”. McDermott further explained:

“It doesn’t behave as one would intuitively expect relative to other assets given the analogy to digital gold; to date, it’s tended to be more aligned with risk-on assets. But clients and beyond are largely treating it as a new asset class, which is notable — it’s not often that we get to witness the emergence of a new asset class.”

Today, the bitcoin price remains mired in a devastating market drawdown, following Elon Musk’s about-face on the world’s largest cryptocurrency and notable payment institutions in China supporting the government’s ban on crypto. Presently valued at $37,256, bitcoin is down 20.3% in the past week alone.

BTCUSD Chart By TradingView

Institutional Investors Are Making Room For Crypto Despite Lingering Regulatory Uncertainties

McDermott observes that inconsistent regulatory actions across the globe are hindering further growth of the cryptocurrency industry. In truth, the lack of legal and regulatory clarity poses a significant challenge to the crypto endeavors of most investors. Besides China, other major economies like the United States and Russia are yet to clear the fog around regulations.

Nonetheless, McDermott acknowledges that institutional clients are still interested in gaining some exposure to cryptos.

“As a whole, discussions with institutional clients revolve around how they can learn more on the topic and get access to the space —  as opposed to questions around what bitcoin or cryptocurrencies are — which was really the main topic just a few years ago. But beyond that, asset managers and macro funds are interested in whether or not crypto fits into their portfolios, and if it does, how to get access to either the physical — by trading the spot instrument on a blockchain — or exposure through other types of products, typically futures.

The Goldman Sachs executive cites hedge funds as the most active in the cryptocurrency space as they seek to profit from the “structural liquidity” in the market.

All in all, positive signs are emerging. Bitcoin has surged by 12.52% over the last 24 hours. And more billionaires like hedge fund manager Ray Dalio are revealing that they own some bitcoin.