Goldman Sachs CEO Unwilling to Write Off Bitcoin

Lloyd Blankfein admits that while Bitcoin might not be for him, the emergence and adoption of cryptocurrencies may make sense in hindsight in the future.

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein has admitted that while Bitcoin might not be his cup of tea, it would be unwise to dismiss cryptocurrencies entirely as the possible evolution of money from fiat to crypto might make sense in the future.

During a luncheon at the New York Economic Club on Tuesday, Blankfein was asked how he saw Wall Street changing in the coming 5-10 years, particularly in light of the emergence of cryptocurrencies.

In response, he stated that while he was not worried about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in any “systemic way”, they were not something he was particularly comfortable with:

“It’s not for me; I don't do it, I own no Bitcoin.”

However, Blankfein also stated that there are people who are both “passionate for and passionate against it [cryptocurrencies]”, and likened the rise of cryptocurrencies to the introduction of cell phones. He claimed he had been skeptical at first about whether the devices would actually be bought and used by anyone – however, just as cell phones have now become indispensable, cryptocurrencies may end up becoming an established asset class in the coming years, as part of the natural next step in the evolution of money from gold to paper.

“I can’t say why it [cryptocurrencies] should work, but if it did work, I’d be able to explain it in hindsight why it did.”

“I’m not in the school of saying ‘Gee, because it’s uncomfortable with me, because it’s unfamiliar, this can’t happen’,” he added.

Blankfein, who is preparing to step down later this year after a 12-year tenure as Goldman Sachs CEO, has adopted a consistently middle-ground stance on cryptocurrencies, in stark contrast to some of Bitcoin’s more virulent critics such as JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

In addition, Goldman Sachs has also been paving the way for Wall Street’s acceptance of cryptocurrencies – last month, the investment giant started trading cryptocurrency derivatives.