Bank of America (BofA) has created a new team dedicated to cryptocurrency research.
This was reported by Bloomberg, citing a memo from the bank’s head of global research, Candace Browning, and confirmed by a company spokesperson who declined to comment further.
The goal of the bank, which was founded in 1928 in San Francisco, is apparently to explore ways to enter this new market and offer investors new services in the area of digital assets.
The team will be led by Alkesh Shah, who joined BofA in 2013 after working at Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers. Shah has previously led other global teams of technology specialists at Bank of America, and along with him, Mamta Jain and Andrew Moss will also be part of the team.
Shah will in turn report to Michael Maras, who leads global fixed income, currency and commodities research for Bank of America.
The team will also focus on technology research related to digital currencies, as well as the more purely financial aspects. This would confirm that the intention is to develop products or instruments to offer investors, rather than just investing directly.
In the memo referenced by Bloomberg, Browning states:
“Cryptocurrencies and digital assets constitute one of the fastest growing emerging technology ecosystems. We are uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership due to our strong industry research analysis, market-leading global payments platform and our blockchain expertise”.
Why Bank of America doesn’t want to miss out on cryptocurrencies
There is no doubt that investment in cryptocurrencies and digital assets is a fast-growing sector from which banks cannot stay away.
The potential of the business, as evidenced by the growing revenues of crypto exchanges for example, is already quite large, so it is more than obvious that companies that do business with financial services are interested in getting involved.
BofA is a behemoth that turns over about $85 billion a year, has more than 200,000 employees, and manages nearly $3 trillion in assets. It is the second-largest banking institution in the US and the eighth largest in the world.
Moreover, the bank’s main shareholder is Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, which may not be particularly happy about this initiative. Nonetheless, the world evolves and innovates, no matter how dangerous or inappropriate Buffet deems such innovations to be.