Barclays boss rules out crypto trading move - for now
The chief executive of Barclays has dismissed claims that the banking giant is launching a dedicated cryptocurrency trading desk.
Last month reports emerged that Barclays was gauging the interest of clients in a potential cryptocurrency service.
While CEO Jes Staley admitted that he was looking into crypto-related business opportunities, he has ruled out opening a cryptocurrency trading desk – for now.
"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," Staley was reported to have said.
The news comes just one day after online trading platform Plus500 said the huge boom in interest around cryptocurrencies has subsided and that the market had returned to more "normal conditions".
Last year, Bitcoin’s price soared from less than $1,000 at the start of 2017 to almost $20,000 at the end of the year.
Ethereum has also enjoyed significant growth in that period – but the digital currency took a hit this week after US regulators said they were exploring whether it – and other cryptocurrencies – should be treated like stocks.
→ READ MORE: Crypto regulation could boost blockchain say experts
Other contenders, like Ripple, have also been gaining traction.
Spanish bank Santander recently announced plans to launch an international money transfer app in partnership with Ripple in the next few months.
"This spring, if not one beats us to it, we will be the first large retail bank to carry out cross-border payments at scale with blockchain technology," Santander CEO Nathan Bostock said.
In other cryptocurrency news, cloud-based instant messaging service Telegram has reportedly cancelled its much-hyped initial coin offering (ICO), with sources telling The Wall Street Journal that it was partly due to "increasingly tight regulations" that are being proposed.
However, other reports suggest that Telegram had raised enough money in private sales that an ICO was no longer needed.
Sara Simeone, VP of marketing and Blockchain at tech start-up Wakelet, told BusinessCloud that altcoin investors are becoming more savvy when it comes to picking the right ICO project.
"The quality of the project, solid reasons for using Blockchain and a well thought out white paper have replaced the initial excitement surrounding ICOs," she said.
"From a resource perspective, Blockchain developers are difficult to find and so are marketers that are able to create a value proposition, help with the white paper and transform a Blockchain project into a viable commercial product.
"This shows how the future of this sector is dependent on the people running these projects and their understanding of the technology more than ever before."