Capital markets News

Bank of America to start cryptocurrency research

bank of america

Yesterday Bloomberg reported on a Bank of America internal memo that states the bank is setting up a research team focused on cryptocurrencies and digital currency technologies. It will be headed by New York-based Alkesh Shah, whose current LinkedIn job title says he’s a Founding Member of the company’s Data & Innovation Strategy Group.

Given his previous interest in AI, it will be interesting to see whether there’s an emphasis on cryptocurrencies that bridge data, AI and blockchain.

Meanwhile, the memo from Candace Browning, head of global research at the bank, read, “Cryptocurrencies and digital assets constitute one of the fastest growing emerging technology ecosystems.” 

It continues, “We are uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership due to our strong industry research analysis, market-leading global payments platform and our blockchain expertise.”

The company is a significant patent holder when it comes to blockchain.

America’s second biggest bank joins JP Morgan, Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley, and Citigroup, which have made inroads into the digital assets world. Outside of research, the activities tend to be spread across offering wealth management products, trading, and crypto-asset custody.

Like most of the big banks, there’s been a change of tune as the cryptocurrency sector has evolved into a business opportunity for banks. Back in 2019, Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Bank of America, was not bullish on the sector. She stated, “Show me the use case. You bring me the use case and I’ll try it”. She was only slightly less bearish on private blockchains versus public. 

In terms of private blockchains, the bank is a participant in the Marco Polo trade finance network and the blockchain stock settlement network from Paxos Trust.