Goldman Sachs has restarted a cryptocurrency trading desk that was halted after the last major bull run of 2017, according to Reuters.
The rebooted desk will start trading cash-settled Bitcoin futures on behalf of its clients next week, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed source. Coindesk, meanwhile, reported that the Goldman service plans to resume in mid-March.
The trading desk is set to sit within the bank's Global Markets division, a market-maker that does business with hedge funds and other institutional investors such as pension plans.
Trading cash-settled futures means that the bank would not have to take custody of the underlying digital assets directly. Those types of contracts allow two parties to wager on Bitcoin's price at a specified point in the future without exchanging the cryptocurrency itself.
Goldman is also said to doing its due diligence on the possibility of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF.) Further details aren't known.
The bank is also looking at offering cryptocurrency custodial services, and has issued a "request for information" about it internally, according to a CoinDesk report in January. JPMorgan and Citi are said to be exploring a similar offering.
Goldman's cryptocurrency trading desk was set up in 2018, at the tail end of a cryptocurrency boom that saw Bitcoin hit the $20,000 mark in December 2017.
The US bank hired Justin Schmidt to run its digital asset markets desk in April 2018. Before joining Goldman, Schmidt worked in quantitative investment roles.
But Schmidt left the bank in 2020 as 15-year Goldman veteran Mathew McDermott took on his role. McDermott's mandate as global head of digital assets was to oversee Goldman's exploratory work with "distributed ledgers," which are attempts to use the concepts behind blockchains but without permissionless cryptocurrencies attached.
Part of Goldman's work under McDermott was investigating the issuance of the bank's own digital stablecoin. Perhaps as a harbinger of the current institutionally led bull market, he told CNBC last year that he was seeing rising institutional interest in cryptocurrencies.