Goldman Sachs just became the first major U.S. bank to have made an over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency transaction, according to an announcement made public today. The Wall Street giant bought an OTC Bitcoin non-deliverable option (NDO) from Galaxy Digital.
An OTC Bitcoin NDO sounds complicated, but it basically means Goldman Sachs bought a contract betting on the future price of Bitcoin—rather than actually buying the digital asset itself.
Galaxy Digital is a New York-based cryptocurrency investment firm, run by billionaire Mike Novogratz. It has a partnership with Goldman Sachs as a liquidity provider for the investment bank’s Bitcoin futures trading desk, which launched last year.
Max Minton, Asia Pacific head of digital assets for Goldman Sachs, said in a statement: "We are pleased to have executed our first cash-settled crypto currency options trade with Galaxy. This is an important development in our digital assets capabilities and for the broader evolution of the asset class."
Damien Vanderwilt, co-president and head of global markets at Galaxy Digital, added: "We are pleased to continue to strengthen our relationship with Goldman and expect the transaction to open the door for other banks considering OTC as a conduit for trading digital assets."
Goldman Sachs’ interest in the crypto world has changed over the years. In 2018, it announced plans for a crypto trading desk but then shelved the idea. Last year, it opened the desk.
Options trading is an extremely popular form of investing in cryptocurrency. Instead of traders buying and selling digital assets, they buy and sell contracts that bet on the prices of the assets.
It’s a huge market: In the last 24 hours, $16.5 billion was traded on Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, on the spot market. And the 24-hour trading volume for its futures market stood at $44 billion.