Bank of America might allow limited Bitcoin futures trading, reports say

July 16, 2021, 6:30 PM UTC
A customer uses an automated teller machine at a Bank of America branch in San Francisco.
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bank of America has reportedly begun allowing some clients to trade Bitcoin futures, a big step for a company that has been conservative in its cryptocurrency approaches so far.

Coindesk, citing anonymous sources, says select bank clients are setting up accounts to access the crypto market, and a small number may have already gone live.

Bank of America did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the report.

The appeal for BofA, per Coindesk, is the significant margin it requires, which could make it a very rewarding business opportunity. The company will also reportedly be using CME futures, which were launched in 2017 and have since become one of the biggest Bitcoin futures trading platforms.

Bank of America has been wary of cryptocurrencies for some time. In March, one of its analysts noted that Bitcoin “has not been particularly compelling as an inflation hedge.” Earlier this month, though, Bloomberg reported the bank had created a new team dedicated to researching cryptos.

Earlier this year, crypto custody firm NYDIG partnered with fintech firm Fidelity National Information Services to enable U.S. banks to offer Bitcoin to smaller banks. Hundreds enrolled in the program, which could be putting pressure on larger financial institutions.

In March, Morgan Stanley began offering Bitcoin funds to its clients. And Goldman Sachs quickly followed suit, adding to the potential pressure on BofA.

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