By Kevin Kelleher
September 5, 2018

Goldman Sachs is dropping its plans to open a trading desk focused on cryptocurrencies, Business Insider reported Wednesday.

Previous reports had indicated that Goldman was hoping to set up a trading desk for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by the end of June. Now, Business Insider says, officials at the investment firm realized that more steps would need to be taken for a regulated bank to trade bitcoin, including factors beyond Goldman’s control.

Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein has made mixed statements on cryptocurrencies and Goldman. Last fall, he tweeted “Still thinking about #Bitcoin. No conclusion – not endorsing/rejecting. Know that folks also were skeptical when paper money displaced gold.” In a later interview, Blankfein said that bitcoin “is not for me” and that he was unsure whether it would succeed in time.

Reports in May that Goldman was moving ahead with its cryptocurrency trading desk led some optimists believe that it was an important step in legitimizing and mainstreaming digital currencies. Today’s report that Goldman is backing off its plans for now left some cryptocurrencies declining.

Bitcoin’s exchange rate against the dollar fell 6% to $6,934 during Wednesday trading. Ethereum was down 15% at $243, while Ripple was down 12% at $0.2895.

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