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FINTECH

Research note suggests Bank of America close to dealing crypto

The only way banks can fully embrace the blockchain technology now transforming finance is by dealing in cryptos.

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Any leading bank publishing its first research piece on the cryptocurrency market needs to offer something meaty.

Alkesh Shah, a former tech sector strategist and analyst and now global crypto and digital asset strategist at Bank of America, proved himself up to the task on Monday, putting out a 141-page first note.

The opening sentence says everything. “With a $2 trillion plus market value and 200 million plus users, the digital asset universe is too large to ignore.” While Shah’s opening observation is aimed at investors, the same message is now finally getting through at the top of the banks, hence his own new role.

Candace Browning, head of BofA global research, says: “Digital assets are transforming the way in which markets, businesses and central banks operate. Bank of America offers a market-leading global payments platform and blockchain expertise, and the addition of digital asset research further strengthens the depth and breadth of our offerings for investors.”

Digital assets are much more than a form of money
Alkesh Shah, Bank of America

Market sources away from the bank tell Euromoney that BofA’s prime brokerage unit occasionally clears and settles cryptocurrency exchange-traded products (ETPs) for select clients.