The crypto world got pretty excited on October 2 when the Wall Street Journal reported that Goldman was looking at starting a Bitcoin trading operation.
“Goldman Sachs is weighing a new trading operation dedicated to bitcoin and other digital currencies, the first blue-chip Wall Street firm preparing to deal directly in this burgeoning yet controversial market,” the Journal wrote, before cautioning that “Goldman’s effort is in its early stages and may not proceed.”
That was welcome news for Bitcoin fans as it came less than a month after Jamie Dimon derided the virtual currency as a “fraud” and suggested in no uncertain terms that anyone he caught trading Bitcoin would be summarily booted from the building like Bobcat Goldthwait in Scrooged.
The very next day, Lloyd Blankfein took to Twitter to “clarify” things as follows:
Since then, it’s been a characteristically wild ride for Bitcoin, culminating in a truly absurd bout of volatility on Wednesday, when the “currency” which is most assuredly not a “currency” plunged more than 20% after hitting an intraday high near $11,400.
Hours later, we learned that Coinbase will now be forced by the IRS to turn over information on more than 14,000 users who the government suspects have failed to properly report their trading profits.
Well, it looks like this latest bout of volatility – which the crypto faithful will happily remind you is just par for the course and nothing to be concerned about – has made Blankfein’s decision for him. Or at least in the near term.
“Something that moves up and down 20 percent in a day doesn’t feel like a currency, doesn’t feel like a store of value,” Blankfein told Bloomberg on Thursday. “If it works out — and it gets more established, and it trades more like a store of value, and it doesn’t move up and down 20 percent, and there is liquidity to it — we’ll get to it.”
That doesn’t sound too much like someone who is going to be diving headfirst into the crypto space next week. And neither does this – also from Blankfein:
One of the main uses of Bitcoin is as a vehicle to perpetrate fraud.
Lloyd was loath to rule out the possibility of Bitcoin succeeding, but if you watch the interview he sounds notably less sanguine than he did just weeks ago.
So say what you will about what we’ve seen this week, but the recent price action did not do Bitcoin any favors in the eyes of those who, like Blankfein, are taking a relatively open-minded approach.
Meanwhile, in what was perhaps the most poignant example yet of how out of control this is, Bitcoin actually came up in Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ daily press briefing:
You can draw your own conclusions there, but as DealBreaker’s Owen Davis wrote in his satirical take, “just wait until the inevitable [Trump] tweet.”