SAN FRANCISCO — Most big banks have tried to stay far away from the scandal-tainted virtual currency Bitcoin.
But Goldman Sachs, perhaps the most storied name in finance, is bucking the risks and moving ahead with plans to set up what appears to be the first Bitcoin trading operation at a Wall Street bank.
In a step that is likely to lend legitimacy to virtual currencies — and create new concerns for Goldman — the bank is about to begin using its own money to trade with clients in a variety of contracts linked to the price of Bitcoin.
While Goldman will not initially be buying and selling actual Bitcoins, a team at the bank is looking at going in that direction if it can get regulatory approval and figure out how to deal with the additional risks associated with holding the virtual currency.Rana Yared, one of the Goldman executives overseeing the creation of the trading operation, said the bank is cleareyed about what it is getting itself into.
I would not describe myself as a true believer who wakes up thinking Bitcoin will take over the world,” Ms. Yared said. “For almost every person involved there has been personal skepticism brought to the table.”