Morgan Stanley appointed Andrew Peel as head of digital asset markets. The update comes from his LinkedIn profile, where the new position is listed. He leaves Credit Suisse, after twelve years with the bank, where his latest job was vice president of sales and trading innovation, although he spent the majority of his stay in the Delta One desk. Peel will be traveling between London and Zurich for his new role, which isn’t that surprising given how a lot of financial services companies are limiting their exposure to the UK in the wake of Brexit.
The hiring sparks speculation in the big “Wall Street and Bitcoin” debate. A race for the best crypto-trading desk appears to be forming, with the main contenders being Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. The latter recently appointed a new CEO, who is rather fond of the prospect and has attracted similar talent in the past.
Every bank on The Street may have a different opinion on Bitcoin, but even the more skeptical ones are willing to explore blockchain technology. JPMorgan is innovating with “Virtual Depositary Receipts” and keep in mind who is their CEO - Jamie Dimon - one of the most famous critics of the first cryptocurrency, who later changed his mind.
Regardless, there are a few issues which need to be resolved before institutional crypto trading is fully embraced by the banks. The main obstacle appears to be the legal one, although low liquidity and counterparty risk can also be seen as risk factors. A custody framework for cryptocurrencies will probably be a major stepping stone and the creation of an ETF will be another.