Morgan Stanley CEO says bitcoin isn't a large part of the bank's business, but admits crypto is more than just a 'fad'

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Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. Andrew Burton/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider Andrew Burton/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider
  • Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said crypto isn't in demand for the bank's clients.

  • Even so, he admitted on the bank's earnings call that cryptocurrencies aren't just a fad.

  • He said he's watching how regulators plan to handle the space.

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman says crypto isn't a big part of the bank's business but, he admits, it's more than just a passing trend.

Gorman made the comments on the company's third-quarter earnings call after an equity analyst asked how the bank planned to engage with clients regarding digital assets.

In response, the CEO said Morgan Stanley isn't directly trading cryptocurrencies for retail clients - unlike some of its competitors - but it gives them access to buy digital assets through funds.

"It's just not a huge part of the business demand from our clients, and that may evolve, and we'll evolve with it," he said.

Even so, he admitted: "I don't think crypto is a fad."

"I don't think it's going to go away. I don't know what the value of bitcoin should or shouldn't be, but these things aren't going away. And the blockchain technology supporting is obviously very real and powerful," he said after the company posted an earnings beat, thanks to a boom in investment banking and equity trading.

For the bank, cryptocurrencies are a working space, Gorman said, adding that, "We're watchful of it, we're respectful, and we'll wait and see how the regulators handle it."

Other prominent market players have also stayed away from cryptocurrencies amid regulatory uncertainty. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon went so far as to call bitcoin "worthless" this week.

Regulators have been grappling with how to manage the space for months. The Fed recently said it has no plans to ban crypto, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission said it's in the process of coming up with a regulatory framework for the market. Last week the SEC approved the closest thing to a US bitcoin ETF so far.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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