Goldman Sachs submitted its Form 10-K today to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These reports are required by the SEC each year and give comprehensive summaries of the financial performances of the companies that submit them.
This submission is somewhat of a departure from the previous year's in that the "Risk Factors" section now contains words like "cryptocurrencies," "distributed ledger technology," and "blockchain."
Per the filing:
"Although the prevalence and scope of applications of distributed ledger technology and similar technologies is growing, the technology is also nascent and may be vulnerable to cyber attacks or have other inherent weaknesses. We may be, or may become, exposed to risks related to distributed ledger technology through our facilitation of clients' activities involving financial products linked to distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain or cryptocurrencies, our investments in companies that seek to develop platforms based on distributed ledger technology, and the use of distributed ledger technology by third-party vendors, clients, counterparties, clearing houses and other financial intermediaries."
This statement by Goldman Sachs is similar to what was written in Bank of America's 10-K, which was made public last week.
While JP Morgan has yet to file its 10-K, the company recently released a 71-page comprehensive report titled Decrypting Cryptocurrencies: Technology, Applications, and Challenges, which has 94 mentions of the word "risk."
Conversely, Citigroup, which has established a long-term blockchain initiative, failed to mention cryptocurrency in its 10-K filing at all, choosing instead to briefly state, "Citi's Ongoing Investments and Efficiency Initiatives May Not Be as Successful as It Projects or Expects … Citi also has been pursuing efficiency savings through its technology and digital initiatives, location strategy and organizational simplification."
Notably, Circle, a payments startup backed by Goldman Sachs, recently acquired the cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. Some view this as a sign that Goldman Sachs has plans to continue its foray into the cryptocurrency space despite what risks the investment may pose.