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It isn’t Bank of America’s first foray into the ecosystem. The bank has courted blockchain technology for years.
Head of global research for Bank of America, Candace Browning, stated that crypto and digital assets are in one of the fastest-growing ecosystems. The sector has a valuation of $2 trillion with an estimated $50 billion going to new ETP/ETFs.
Many more investors and venture capital firms are also establishing partnership deals with cryptocurrency firms. Candace believes the bank is well-positioned to provide thought leadership to its audience because of the company’s blockchain expertise, strong market research, and established global payments platform.
Journey to the Establishment of Crypto Research Team
Interestingly, this isn’t Bank of America’s first foray into the ecosystem. The bank has courted blockchain technology for years. First, it applied for a patent – a restricted blockchain network to record internet-of-things (IoT) node data. There have been many other such patents. Again, in 2019, the bank began hiring for several blockchain positions. A report in May asserted the bank had joined the Paxos Settlement Service to allow customers to settle stock trades using blockchain technology.
However, its direct foray into cryptocurrency has been delayed. This is particularly obvious when compared with other competitors like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, both of whom have been involved in crypto-trading for their customers. Some of the bank’s analysts went as far as criticizing digital assets for their volatility.
Perhaps what showed the bank’s disposition the most was the statement of its Chief Executive Officer, Brian Moynihan in his May testimony before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.
He had said:
“We do not lend against cryptocurrencies and do not bank companies whose primary business is cryptocurrency or the facilitation of cryptocurrency trading and investment.”
With the recent assembling of the cryptocurrency research team, it seems that the bank has finally stepped up its crypto game.
According to the Thursday report by Bloomberg, the team will be headed by Alkesh Shah, a member of the bank’s data and innovation strategy group. Andrew Moss and Mamta Jain of the bank’s digital innovation group are also on the team. They will report to Michael Maras, who oversees the bank’s global currencies and commodities research team.