American multinational investment banking giant Citigroup Inc. is considering offering Bitcoin futures trading for some institutional clients according to reports.
A Reuters report on August 25 citing a spokesperson for the bank stated that it had seen increased demand in the cryptocurrency space.
The nameless source stated that the U.S. banking giant is awaiting regulatory approval to begin trading BTC futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
According to an email, the spokesperson said “Given the many questions around regulatory frameworks, supervisory expectations, and other factors, we are being very thoughtful about our approach,” before adding:
“We are presently considering products such as futures for some of our institutional clients, as these operate under strong regulatory frameworks,”
ETF application backlog grows
Another spokesperson said that the Citi team is likely to win approval to begin trading CME Bitcoin futures first, and then Bitcoin exchange-traded notes (ETNs).
According to its recruitment portal, Citigroup is actively seeking experienced personnel to join a crypto and derivatives-focused team in London. In June, Citi launched a business unit to offer crypto-related products under the bank’s wealth management umbrella.
In early May, BeInCrypto reported on CitiGroup’s first foray into the cryptocurrency space when its Global Head of Foreign Exchange, Itay Tuchman, said that the bank was considering crypto trading, custody, and financing services for its clients.
Earlier this year in March, Citi issued a report on Bitcoin titled “Bitcoin At The Tipping Point” which made several observations about the potential for cryptocurrencies. Citi has yet to file an official application for crypto derivatives products but several other high-profile banks and financial institutions already have.
The total number of exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications filed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission so far this year is 23. The financial regulator has yet to approve a single one.
VanEck and ProShares have already filed Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs with the latest applications being lodged last week. Earlier this month, SEC Chair Gary Gensler hinted that he would be more open to accepting ETFs based on crypto futures rather than through direct exposure.
Big banks want crypto
Earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase wealth management clients were given access to six crypto funds, most of which were operated by Grayscale.
Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley is also heavy on Bitcoin with substantial holdings according to a filing with the SEC in June.
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