Barclays Trader Activity Points to a Crypto Trading Desk: Report

Don’t look now but Barclays is the latest Wall Street bank conjuring up a cryptocurrency trading desk. Business Insider reported about the development, pointing to the LinkedIn profiles of a couple of traders at the investment bank but adding that Barclays has denied the development.

Chris Tyrer and Matthieu Jobbe Duval are traders turned digital assets professionals and each has documented the details of their career paths, which seemingly lead to the potential development of a cryptocurrency trading desk at Barclays. If true, it would mark the second such major investment bank to do so on the heels of Goldman Sachs.

For his part, Tyrer has been leading a Digital Assets Project at Barclays Investment Bank since January 2018.  According to a source cited in the Business Insider report, the digital assets project involves cryptocurrencies.  Prior to that, Tyrer led the energy trading desk at the firm.

Incidentally, former JPMorgan trader Danny Masters similarly migrated to crypto from commodities, having previously led JPMorgan’s energy trading desk in New York. Masters has once likened bitcoin to the oil market in the eighties, pointing to features such as high volatility, loose regulation and inconsistent liquidity as common ground.

Meanwhile, Duval, the other former Barclays trader reportedly engaged in this project, identifies himself as a consultant to Barclays for digital assets trading. Duval also mentions a period of garden leave, for which he provided the following excerpt:

“Designed and programmed fully-autonomous arbitrage & market-making bots Universe: Top 5 cryptoassets – 8 crypto/fiat and crypto/crypto exchanges Connectivity: REST and Websocket Language: Python” — Duval’s LinkedIn Profile

Barclays and those involved are keeping the details extremely close to the vest. Upon reaching out to Barclays for comment, Business Insider reported that Duval removed details from his LinkedIn page about his current situation. According to the publication, those details included the following description:

“Hired to produce a business plan for integrating a digital assets trading desk into Barclays’ markets business: revenue opportunity, competitive landscape, budgeting and planning for delivery, I.T. buildout, capital & balance sheet impact.”

If the hype is true, it would reflect green shoots of Wall Street’s acceptance of cryptocurrency trading. Back in April, Bloomberg reported that Barclays was assessing the demand and feasibility of a crypto trading desk, and now it appears the European bank is taking things to the next level, which wouldn’t be too farfetched in light of Goldman Sachs’ plans and the fact that Barclays is looking to obtain blockchain-fueled patents, as CCN previously reported. Adding another major investment bank to the growing list of cryptocurrency trading desks would also provide another custody option for hedge funds and other institutional investors, which appears to be what big traders are waiting for.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Gerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.