During Morgan Stanley’s quarterly earnings call with analysts, CEO James Gorman highlighted bitcoin and cryptocurrency. In an effort to emphasize that cryptography isn’t going anywhere.
“I don’t think crypto is a fad. I don’t think it’s going to go away,” he said on the bank’s third-quarter earnings call with analysts Thursday morning. “I don’t know what the value of Bitcoin should or shouldn’t be. But these things aren’t going away, and the blockchain technology supporting it is obviously very real and powerful.”
As one of the first large banks to embrace bitcoin, Morgan Stanley was among the first. Bank of America announced in March that it was offering bitcoins to clients. The bank added bitcoin to 12 mutual funds’ investment strategies in April. In September, the global investment bank established a cryptocurrency research team under Sheena Shah, a crypto analyst. “The launch of dedicated crypto research is in recognition of the growing significance of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets in global markets,” the bank explained.
Furthermore, he also added, “The Blockchain Technology supporting it is obviously very real and powerful.” This puts him in direct opposition to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. “I personally think that Bitcoin is worthless,” Dimon said this week at the annual meeting of the Institute of International Finance. He further added that clients are “adults” and that the firm can give them “clean as possible access.”
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Morgan Stanley announced in September that Sheena Shah would lead a new team researching cryptocurrencies. During the earnings call, Gorman noted that the firm isn’t directly trading crypto for retail clients, but rather allowing them to buy it through various funds.
“For us, honestly, it’s just not a huge part of the business demand from our clients. And that may evolve and we’ll evolve with it,” he said. “We’re watchful of it, we’re respectful, and we’ll wait and see how the regulators handle it.”