Morgan Stanley is joining Wall Street’s race toward an institutional-friendly bitcoin derivative.
According to anonymous sources reporting to Bloomberg, the financial institution is devising price return swaps tied to bitcoin. These derivatives would allow investors to indirectly invest in the market’s flagship currency, allotting them the option to buy into long or short positions through the contracts.
Taking their prices from bitcoin futures, the swaps will not handle bitcoin directly. Seeing as Morgan Stanley is a regulated and established financial institution, tying the product to futures contracts is a safer bet than basing them on bitcoin’s spot price, as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Exchange offer fully-regulated bitcoin futures from which Morgan Stanley can pool pricing data.
Bloomberg’s source claimed that the derivatives are ready for launch, but it’s waiting on an in-house approval process and sufficient investor demand before taking them to market. In the original reporting, a Morgan Stanley spokesperson declined to comment on the developments.
If the tip is valid, it would make Morgan Stanley the latest in legacy financial groups looking to open a doorway for institutional investors to enter the cryptocurrency market. Despite false reports claiming that Goldman Sachs had put hopes for a bitcoin strategy behind it, the bank has a strategy desk in the works, a service that, if opened, would add to the bitcoin futures options it facilitates for its clients.
Citigroup also reportedly has so-called digital asset receipts in the works. Like its traditional counterpart in American depository receipts, these receipts offer investors an option to purchase an asset that doesn’t trade on local markets from a foreign exchange.
Institutional-tier offerings such as those detailed above are seen as much-needed catalysts to stimulate the flow of institutional money into the market, offering heavyweight financial players a less-risky way to buy into assets like bitcoin. For the same reason, custody services like those offered by Coinbase, BitGo and others are necessary for safely storing and managing these investments as well.