Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs will use its own money to trade bitcoin futures on behalf of its clients, according to the New York Times.
TheÂ Times reported Wednesday that while the exact launch date of the new trading operation is not yet set, the move came after the bank's board of directors signed off on the initiative. Goldman is also set to "create its own, more flexible version of a future, known as a non-deliverable forward, which it will offer to clients," according to the report.
Goldman executive Rana Yared said the decision resulted from a growing number of inquiries from clients that indicated interest in holding bitcoin as an alternative asset.
"It resonates with us when a client says, 'I want to hold bitcoin or bitcoin futures because I think it is an alternate store of value,'" she told the Times.
The investment bank has hired its first "digital asset" trader, Justin Schmidt, to handle the daily operation. Schmidt previously worked as a trader at hedge fund Seven Eight Capital before leaving last year to trade cryptocurrencies.
The news reflects the growing involvement of Goldman in the crypto-market, as CEO Lloyd Blankfein has previously said that the investment bank was clearing bitcoin futures for its clients. Per the Times, any deeper action - including the direct handling of bitcoin - will only come following approval from U.S. regulators.
And according to Yared, Goldman officials have taken a cautious approach throughout the process.
"For almost every person involved, there has been personal skepticism brought to the table," Yared was quoted as saying, adding:
"It is not a new risk that we don't understand. It is just a heightened risk that we need to be extra aware of here."
Goldman Sachs logo image via Shutterstock