The Evolution Of Digital Assets with Mathew McDermott

The emergence of digital assets has already brought tremendous change to the world, from innovative streamlined payment systems to NFTs that democratize ownership of media, and even DAOs that are redefining how organisations collaborate to get things done.

By some measures, the financial sector has been slow to take up the vast opportunities presented by public blockchain infrastructure and the attendant gains in capabilities and efficiency. But behind the scenes, titans of finance like Goldman Sachs have been doing their research, and are nearly ready to join the crypto economy in a big way…

Joining us this week to explore this topic is Mathew McDermott, Global Head of Digital Assets at Goldman Sachs. Before joining Goldman Sachs, Mathew worked at Morgan Stanley as an analyst and associate. At the beginning of his sixteen years at Goldman Sachs, Mathew was an executive director who worked on the European Special Situations Group. He then worked in Global Liquidity Products before getting appointed managing director as the Global Head of Cross Asset Financing.

Jeremy Allaire: Hello, I'm Jeremy Allaire and this is a special edition of The Money Movement. I'm here today in London, England. I have a special guest, Mathew McDermott, the Global Head of Digital Assets from Goldman Sachs. We have the backdrop here of the City of London, and a wonderful venue for this conversation. Welcome, Mathew.

Mathew McDermott: Thanks very much, Jeremy. Nice to be here.

Jeremy: Absolutely. I want to start maybe just a little bit on a personal level and hear a little bit about your own journey into digital assets. It's always fascinating to hear how do people arrive at this space, this problem space and maybe we'll just start with that at a high level.

Mathew: Yes, of course, and probably not similar to many of the other guests that you've had on your podcast. I joined Goldman Sachs in 2005 from Morgan Stanley, where I was lastly involved in the securitization, which I think is actually quite relevant to some of the things that we're working on now in the digital space, and basically, I've run a variety of different businesses over the last 15 years.

At the tail end of 2019, I was approached then head of the strategy at the firm, and she said, "You've been focused on the application of blockchain in the business that you're on, which was cross-asset financing, as I was looking to see how we can improve the efficiencies." It became very evident to me at that point in time that the technology had been talked about five, six, seven years, but was really at this cusp of being enterprise-ready. You could see that there was real value to be extracted from using the underlying technology.

When she said, "Look, we're really keen to really build out this business. We'd love you to run it.", that was a great opportunity for me to really, I guess, build on what I've learned in terms of the blockchain application. Then on the personal level, I'd been obviously a little bit dabbling in the crypto investments. I did have a real interest in this space. As a function of that, I was given the ability to build out the team with the support of management within the firm, and really covered the cross-section of what we consider to be digital assets at Goldman. It's not as deep as other people, but probably the last three years, I've been merely quite heavily involved in this space.

Jeremy: Well, I think we can explore some of that. I think one of the noteworthy things, obviously, is digital assets inherently implies technology-driven change in the way finance works. I know David Solomon likes to talk about Goldman's more of a technology company and how many software engineers there are. In some ways, this shift towards digital assets really is representative of a deeper technology shift in the financial system. It puts you in your role in a pretty interesting place at the intersection of technology and finance, probably more so than it has existed in the past.

Mathew: Absolutely. I think that's a really interesting angle because I think we're still so nascent in the development of this marketplace. As I take a step back and I look at our business, there are, I'd say, two key aspects to it. There's the part of the business that's driven by our clients. We have a crypto side of the business, which naturally is trading lending content. The other key part that's driven is this whole digitization of the lifecycle. I think the team have increasingly spending more and more time on that. What does that actually mean?

That means we're looking at either digital debt issuances, tokenization of real assets, thinking about how we can digitize different aspects of the commodities market, the same with derivatives. There's just a huge bank of client interest across the market. As we think about our business, we've been mandated on a number of different projects, we've built up a pipeline in many different aspects of certainly the tokenization space.

Then it becomes a question of, what is the best and most strategic way to build this out and how can you start to think about this really a morphing into the marketplace of choice for our clients? That's when you really start thinking about digital currency as well. That's the key part of the client business. The other part of the business is thinking about how can the firm operate more efficiently? There we take an internal lens to the technology and see how we can transform different businesses.

For example, we do pretty much daily and intraday repo, digitize intraday repo with JP Morgan, we can see great application across securities, finance, repo, and many other markets. There's a lot of work that we did now working with the different businesses across the firm. Again, digital cash is a key component of that, because, in [unintelligible 00:04:41], you need digital cash to facilitate the issuance, the opposite leg of repo, the corporate action, secondary trading. These are all key parts of our thought process and how we really want to progress those businesses.

I would say the other thing as well that's been interesting, following a couple of the transactions that were publicized last year, the European Investment Banks, digital debt issuance, which we worked on with two other banks, and obviously, EIB, plus the intraday repo, plus more. We just had this huge flood, as I said, of client interest, and people want to experiment.

You've just seen the investment now across asset managers, insurers, pension funds, the real cross-section of the market sovereigns, and that's hugely encouraging and really, has just given us the confidence in ourselves to build up our own capabilities in this space. At the heart of what a lot of the month is based in see liquidity. They would like to see, obviously, be involved in the innovation, but then just see the ability to, where is that next step that liquidity because this becomes truly transformational and you increase the adoption.

Jeremy: It's so interesting. I think people who've gotten into the digital asset space through crypto have entered into this world where they only know this native digital asset world, meaning they only know a world where the cash and the money is a form of cryptographic money, they only know an exchange model where you have a real-time settlement, and you have the flexibility of cryptographic custody and you have marketplaces that exist on the internet, where buyers and sellers are convening.

In some ways, what I'll call the public blockchain, public digital asset space is, in some ways, running out ahead. What people are trading are not debt issuance from companies or other securities. I think a lot of people who come at this from the public side, as it were, the public internet side and the crypto side, actually don't even understand the basics of what capital markets are, although there are a lot of traditional finance people who are now in the crypto space more and more every day.

To many people, the functioning of traditional markets is not well understood, but when you are close to it, as you've been for most of your career, you see the fundamental, not just operational challenges, but even at the level of fundamental financial risk if you're in a world of T+3 settlement, or you're in a world where you have to tie up capital for meaningful periods of time, and you don't actually have visibility into the counterparty in various parts of your transactions.

There's this inherent risk that exists, that people live with and they figure out ways to build around it. The interesting, just in light of that, just thinking about some of the traditional capital market functions, Goldman, obviously, plays an extraordinarily significant role in that, but maybe walk us through a digital asset debt issuance. What is that, why is it better, what does that look like today, what does that look like three years from now, the relationship to digital currency, the actual market, secondary markets, maybe break it down?

A company needs money, what do they do and how does digital assets help that be better?

Mathew: I look out in that sense and I'll come on to that. I think you just touched on some really good points. I think what's driving our enthusiasm in this space, as well as the many different clients that we talked to and I think it is the points that you raised that reduction in risk, that increased functionality and what do you mean by the increased functionality, the ability, the programmability of the technology, this finality of settlement. To your point, the EIB transaction, I'll go into that in a bit more detail.

Traditionally, they are T+5 when they settle. We did T+1 by design, but the actual settlement process itself is inside an hour. You can just see how you're reducing the risk, what does that mean? It means you can be more precise with your liquidity, which reduces your capital needs in the future. These benefits will only really, truly be seen once you've got full adoption. Coming back to your question, what does it mean to issue debt and raise cash?

If it is say company X, they are looking to raise money in the digital world, they have two options, I would say. There's one where they could issue debt in the traditional form, so in the form of a certificate. You then basically have that segregated account and you tokenize that and that is tokenized onto either a private DLT or a public blockchain, permission blockchain, or as we did with the European Investment Bank, we actually do a digitally native issuance direct to a theorem in that example. That was an ERC-20 token.

Now, how do you then raise the cash? In the example of doing either, you then have two options. You can create a stable coin or you can think about working with central banks like we did in the example of EIB, whereby, in both scenarios today, because the latter is more of a proof of concept to be fair, you would place cash on deposit and then you would basically amend basically a token which represents euros or dollars. Then you have this DVP settlement that's, as I said, is-

Jeremy: DVP for the uninitiated?

Mathew: It's basically just delivery versus payment. Going back to your example of T+3, often you have this kind of proactive tractor settlement process delivery versus payment is pretty much where we're in this example within 60 minutes. You could say, the way that they determine it in the market is instantaneous, is atomic settlement. Then, basically, the issuer in this example, Company X then takes title to the token.

Then they can either use that if you think there's a broadening marketplace on the blockchain, to use that to buy other assets, or can then convert into fee in today's world, for the abnormal trading activities or Treasury services.

Jeremy: I think part of the key here is this concept of taking title to the debt itself. Again, for a lot of people, a debt contract, they don't really know what that means. There is this paper contract, it's the rules of the security, "Here's what you get, here's how we're going to pay you back. Here's what happens if we screw up. Here's what recourse looks like, all the nitty-gritty, but then representing that, that's something that then people can swap and trade and price and using marketing information, decide it's worth this versus that, all that good stuff.

That taking title, I think in public blockchain world, if I want to purchase, essentially a compound dollar token, what I'm essentially doing is I'm buying effectively, something that is like a form of debt. I'm buying that, and there's continuous settlement behind the scenes and the cash is USDC and it comes in and out.

I think the interesting question around things like corporate debt is, at what point does the token itself not just be a record of a security that's there, but actually, the smart contract itself, is what funds flow into and funds come out of, and the actual funding mechanism goes through a smart contract, the funds go to the issuer, the coupon payments come back through the smart contract and get paid out to anyone who happens to hold that token. How far do you think we are for something like that in a classic debt here?

Mathew: I think we're getting closer, and I think we'll actually see a huge amount of advancement this year, using the EIB example, that settlement was obviously executed through a smart contract, the debt instrument itself a zero-coupon. One of the key areas of focus for us this year is to start to see corporate actions play out on-chain and pose the issuance of the transaction, secondary trading. Now, where is that? There's I say, two key components. I think one is actually having the digital currency on-chain that's ubiquitous and can be used for the entirety of the transaction.

Sounds simple, but obviously that there are always a lot of considerations there, not least regulatory. Then the second piece is the secondary trading. Depending on the venue, be it public permissioned, or private DLT, there are considerations there. With this kind of move by various different regulatory bodies to obviously put out proposed regulations, and the ability to use sandbox, I just think we're going to see a lot greater innovation over the next 12 months.

Just to give you an example, with markets and crypto assets within Europe and any other institution would have the ability to basically file for an application to do all of those things I just said. Basically, do a digital debt issuance, list it, and then basically, have an MTF on either third party or create your own and then facilitate secondary trading on-chain. These are I think, really key developments because that allows clients to see this marketplace really is evolving. The tools are there, is I think the regulations now you need to evolve with that.

Jeremy: I want to come back to regulation, but I'm interested in your perspective on, there's been this incredible amount of basically, open-source innovation, intellectual property being created out in the public with Blockchain technology itself is that you've got big developer communities that are building up around this, and you have this gradual build up everything from crypto wallets, to custodial infrastructure, to the actual execution settlement, and all this stuff is sort of being built up.

As I think about it, historically, financial market infrastructure was something that both from a regulator's point of view and from the private sector actors that were in it, where they felt like it had to be super private proprietary tightly controlled technology, and my background before getting into this was digital media. I'm now in digital money, I was in digital media, but it was the same kind of thing.

You think about satellite television or cable television or terrestrial television, that was on a video guide, but basically, they ran all their own infrastructure, they've put physical wires in the homes, they had their own proprietary set-top boxes, everything. Put birds in the sky in the case of satellite, huge infrastructure. The whole concept was, we have to do this, that's how we reach the customer, and it's also our proprietary technical advantage. It's how we ensure quality of service, it's all this kind of stuff.

In some ways, it seems like the financial system is going through a similar evolution, we have Netflix and YouTube and now even HBO, I watch it through HBO Max, just on any smart TV, and it's just all open internet infrastructure. It's based on open-source protocols. Do you think that's the kind of change we're in for here? When you think about the technology stack, that whether it be Goldman or other traditional capital markets players are looking at, are you looking at this from the lens of, "Hey, look at all this open innovation that's happening."

That's the crowdsource IP development is essentially what it is famously, things like Linux, which is the most widely used operating system in the world, people don't even know it. Do you see that as what's happening, and does that lead to a better, safer infrastructure? I think part of this is about the safety and soundness and the resilience of the infrastructure. Maybe it's a myth that tightly controlled privately run is safer than something that's actually just out in the public and based on open source?

Mathew: Yes, I think we see a huge amount of opportunity and excitement in where this can go in the context of the Netflix analogy. I think when you think about the potential of DeFi, from our own perspective, just looking at, is it an existential threat opportunity, we're definitely in the latter camp. I think for us, it's really just understanding how that can have a positive impact on the way we do business. We're spending a lot of time researching and thinking about development, both internally, but also exploring externally, what the options are now.

Clearly, the regulations really need to allow us to be able to think about how we can develop, but in terms of a regulated DeFi platform, I think that's exceptionally powerful. I think once you actually look at the potential of what that could do in terms of various different protocols, building new protocols for our clients, that just becomes so powerful.

I think the technology, and you've touched on this earlier, when you think about a digital wallet, you start to think about the KYC, the AML, the identity. These are all key things that really need to be developed, that regulatory grade accreditation, for want of a better word, that gets people comfortable. I think once the regulators really does understand and see the potential, and to your point, actually, maybe this is a better way, manage the system. Time will tell. I think we're very excited about the potential.

Jeremy: I remember back when internet email was banned in companies, because it was like, "We don't control that, it's the public internet, We can't do that. Obviously, eventually, companies were like, "Oh, actually, we can put our own core systems could be exposed to the internet, and actually, that allows us to do continuous 24/7 business with people and these kinds of things." A related question on this is the nature of actual capital market liquidity and secondary market liquidity.

There's a question that we've always or I've thought about, which is, do public digital asset markets, just to say, a coin base exchange or FTX exchange, just giving a couple of examples. Do public markets for digital assets eventually become the same public markets where tokenized securities and digital asset securities are traded? It was in the news this week that I think the aggregated revenue of crypto exchanges was something like 60% or 70% larger than the aggregated revenue of stock exchanges, last year. Which is pretty startling. There's a lot of margin grafter there when you look at the spreads.

In any case, it's not just about revenue, it's a lot of our customers, for example, our electronic market firms, they're the same guys and girls that are trading in private, traditional securities markets, public markets, et cetera. Does that converge, in your view, over time? Do the digital asset markets of today become the public markets of tomorrow?

Mathew: This is my personal view, I think, yes, there's a very strong reason why that will happen, but I do feel that [crosstalk]

I think is going to be a key thing. I think what's really interesting is you see [unintelligible 00:20:08], you see Sam FTX's. They're all very pro-regulation and they welcome it-

Jeremy: At Sam's launching stocks too.

Mathew: Exactly. Right. As in a very heavily regulated firm, naturally we do and it creates a level playing field that's appropriately regulated. I think that's the way I'll go. Yes, I I do it. I think the nature of the market changes. It's a 24/7 market. We dipped our toes in just recently with our first secured lending trade into the crypto ecosystem. That was a big thing. You suddenly now risk managing something 24/7, 7 days a week.

Jeremy: It's fascinating that way. I don't think people entirely appreciate it. We have this yield product, Circle Yield and it's secured lending. The counterparties are borrowing USDC and they're posting Bitcoin as collateral. In a traditional securities lending environment, okay, you're posting say stock as collateral but when you got a margin call, it takes a while.

When we have to execute a margin call, it takes about 10 minutes, so to speak because it's just the block confirmation. It's like, okay, I can do these collateral operations, basically in near real-time. If it's something like if your collateral's something on a faster digital asset or whatever, then that's pretty wild. I don't think traditional market participants quite grasp the power of that.

Mathew: I think that's really powerful because I guess there's two examples there as well. We talk about the intraday repo. Again, one of the reasons we like that and I think the market will transform quite quickly actually, as we start to see more adoption. The ability to be so precise in terms of when you need that money and the ability to be able to tokenize an asset and have the confidence and finality of settlement so powerful.

You can just be a lot more interactive during the day in terms of your sources and deployment of liquidity, first, to change the whole risk dynamic because you're actually okay collateralizing it because you have that confidence in the settlement finality, as I said. Then the other point I was going to mention [unintelligible 00:22:13]. It'll come to me in a second.

Jeremy: Crypto collateral.

Mathew: That was it. That was the other point. Sorry. One of the projects we're actually looking at is digitizing derivatives on and actually, when you think about that market, actually having that ability to have almost real-time MPV certainly transforms the risk profile of a derivative because you reduce your credit on your market risk. Then if you can apply a smart contract to basically be the provider of collateral for VM or [unintelligible 00:22:41], that can be done periodically during the day and again, that again reduces the risk. That will have a profound impact and that could be cash or it could be tokenized assets, for example. The point I think you're making, I think is spot on.

Jeremy: That makes sense. I think the second dimension of this that we've thought about a bit is if these public digital asset markets start to become markets where people can trade, not just protocol tokens or things like that but where people can actually trade various forms of tokenized, financial contracts, whatever those would be. It opens up this idea that capital markets themselves could, in theory, service a much larger array of businesses.

There's never really been robust secondary markets, certainly for private companies and private companies' securities. There have been attempts to do it. It's been really, really hard. It seems like in a world of digital assets, you actually could. You could create models where even for things that have much less liquidity and demand on them where you could still find efficient markets. I call it long tail capital markets.

Mathew: I think that's exactly right. When you talk about tokenizing real assets. For me, they're the key drivers of pretty much threefold transparency. That ability to just more seamlessly disseminate information, liquidity, again, once you've got a reasonable amount of adoption. That's quite important because then you think about the rationalization, you open up to just new universe investors and for private assets, real estate, private equity, a lot of people just don't have access.

What you're doing is you're empowering the consumer. You're just opening that universe and over time, you can see how that will lead to the appropriate retail investors. Also being able to invest in certain assets because and having access to it. Then they can determine what their investment portfolio should look like. Yes, I'm certainly very positive about the forward direction of that.

Jeremy: It's interesting to think about the internet has these multi-sided marketplaces create ways to very, very efficiently serve even the most niche thing. I might be a sole proprietor and I'm able to do advertising. That's highly targeted that reaches exactly who I want for my product or if I make a widget, I can go on Alibaba or Amazon. I can get my product in global distribution.

It's phenomenal in transportation and all these other areas and capital markets have resisted that. I think people who participate in digital asset markets intuitively experience that democratization and they're like, this is incredible. Obviously, there's investor protection and disclosure and all the things that are important in financial markets. That's key coming back to regulatory as well. It seems like even the disclosure regime might have to change in a world of digital assets. It will be adapted to

[crosstalk]

Mathew: I think that's a really good point as well because one of the things I would naturally welcome is the harmonization of the regulations across the globe. I doubt that would happen but that would be very powerful. The technology to your point is completely ubiquitous and just transcends borders and what have you. I think there will be nuances of the different jurisdictions but I think you're right. I think it'll give a broader universe of opportunity.

Jeremy: Related question which you don't need to answer on behalf of Goldman Sachs but I'll raise it because is related which is, for investment banking is obviously providing this, helping companies to raise capital and find buyers and the marketing sale of that. In a world where in investment banks have historically had to do that, the business had to be big enough that it could find a market in a meaningful market.

I remember in the 1990s, you could go public with 20 million in revenue as a software company. That was where it was but then it got to a point where you really needed to be more like a hundred million in revenue or obviously markets move around. Is there a world where there's a new class of investment banking that services these long-tail capital markets or does that look different? In your mind again, don't

[crosstalk]

Mathew: This is my view. I think the technology allows you to scale and actually to service a much broader universe of companies, I guess, in this example. I think that is a distinct possibility. I've also seen some very interesting developments in around this space in the DAO space as well which I think will blow your mind actually. When you start thinking about this but I think it will be imperative to be able to really I think broaden. Just taking an asset manager [unintelligible 00:27:42] look at how successful they've been in the traditional way in attracting retail and a broader universe of investors. I think that's very applicable here. You have smaller companies. I think that scalability just means that they'll have a much broader universe of advisors.

Jeremy: Totally. I've done some episodes on DAOs. We don't have to go there in a deep way but the comes back to the fundamentals of some of this which is in a world where a corporate form can exist on-chain where the capital formation is on-chain, where the treasury of the organization is on-chain, where the governance is on-chain, where that token that is issued equity-like, whatever it exists globally and where smart contracts, intermediate, actual commercial relationships, labor relationships, all that.

You could start to imagine digitally native corporate forms and a level of transparency and audibility on financials that you could actually effectively have various automated forms of underwriting that take place on these where you're getting market signals and pricing on even a small entity and capital formation becomes possible and things like that as well.

Mathew: I think that's exactly right.

Jeremy: We're a few years away.

[crosstalk].

It happens really fast too. Some of this stuff is very, very surprising. Maybe switching gears a little bit because you've touched on it in a few places which is, digital cash, digital currency. There's lots to talk about. This happens to be my core business naturally.

[laughter]

Again, just from your perspective, what do you see the world looking like a few years from now, private sector-led initiatives, public chains, stable coins, permission stable coins, central bank digital currency, the interplay of these, everyone's trying to understand this.

Mathew: Look, it's a broad topic and I think digital currency going back to what I said earlier is imperative for the growth and the broader adoption. I think from our perspective, there're probably three or four key alternatives but really, only two that I see with the mediums to longer-term I guess opportunities. You have obviously the stable coins and even stable coins come in many different flavors. You have the deposit back stable coin. You have then the USDC where you've got say government bonds, cash, which are more cash equivalent like.

Then you have the more exotic, which have a broader reserve profile somewhere algorithmic. There's a really interesting blend there. Natural on the medium term, I think you'll probably gravitate to the narrow reserve, I think that is where the regulators ultimately go. You then got central bank digital currencies and clearly, there's a lot to talk about and consider their geopolitics. What does it mean for the financial system? There's a lot of concern naturally in terms of disintermediation of financial terms, but at the heart, I do think bank digital currencies will have a part to play.

I do think that they're much further down the line, just because there's just so much for them to consider being monetary policy. How much do they ultimately want to issue and potentially impact just the equilibrium you see now in the financial system. Then there are synthetic CBDCs, which I think are very interesting. They're a little bit like private stable coins, but just where the reserve sits at the central bank.

They potentially could be very powerful as well. Then there's like the trigger solution, which is something we did in a simulation with the [unintelligible 00:31:11] bank whereby you transact DVP, delivery versus payment on-chain, but there's like a trigger to the RTGS system. Which then basically facilitates the atomic settlement. Where do I see this space in the medium term? I think basically the private sector will lead. I think stable coins are really going to lead the growth and adoption of digital currency.

Jeremy: We have to agree.

Mathew: [laughs] That the nimbleness and obviously, so I generally feel that that's going to really lead the adoption over the kind of 1, 2, 3 years. Then I think we'll just watch and see how the central bank digital currencies evolve. I think the stats there's 87%.

Jeremy: Everyone's looking.

Mathew: 87% of central banks are looking at this, 79% of the world's GDP but I think the two will coexist quite comfortably.

Jeremy: I like to say at one point I met with the CIO, chief information officer of the Federal Reserve at an event. I asked him, I said, "What's the tech stack of the dollar? Like, what is the dollar? What is it? I'm a tech guy? I want to know what it is." He said it's an Oracle database. [chuckles] It's a cluster of Oracle databases. It's running on sun microsystems, computers. It's like, okay, that I actually what the dollar is. It's a SQL database. When you think about whatever quantitative easing, it's a SQL insert statement into that database. Then those records go to a bank and I'm going to buy those mortgage back securities from these newly created records in my database.

Now you have records in your reserve account and that's what it is. Literally, that's what it is. I think people don't grok that. Oftentimes, when asked about CVCs, one of my answers is actually, yes, actual the core architecture of central bank money should be upgraded from Oracle databases. You could imagine cryptographic money, distributed ledger technology as a huge improvement in the core architecture from an interbank perspective, from efficiency perspective, from a security perspective, all these it's like it's almost obvious

[crosstalk]

That that should be what's upgraded, but just like I as an individual, who's doing a credit card transaction. I'm not clearing that through that Oracle database. [chuckles] There are many, many layers between me and that. That's probably a good thing for a whole bunch of different reasons. When I think about digital currency, I think of it similarly and that co-existence is really important because that co-existence is part of the way in which the financial system has allowed for innovation.

Mathew: Absolutely.

Jeremy: In the private sector. Basically, it's a long-winded way of saying, I agree with you.

Mathew: The other point I'd make as well with digital currency is the cost reduction. Obviously, various mode of jurisdiction, but some of the costs that transfer money is significant and that will dramatically reduce the speed of cross-border payments. I think that's going to be hugely powerful.

Jeremy: Tremendous. I think, intuitively, people who've experienced just the internet would've done for, I can do a video call with anyone anywhere for free, or I can do all these things and like, but with money, it's somehow it plays by a different set of rules and like that doesn't make sense. It just doesn't make sense. It should just work the same way so we're getting closer on that.

Mathew: That'll have a profound impact on a lot of banks, business models going back to one of your real questions.

Jeremy: For sure. We could go along on that topic, one last high-level question which is about, coming back to where we started in the conversation a little bit and you taking on this role as Global Head of Digital Assets at Goldman Sachs. I remember when that was announced the CNBC story, and it's like a big deal. Everyone's like, "Oh, my God, Goldman's doing this."

I'm interested to hear for a long time there was just a huge amount of skepticism. I think people within bulge bracket banks who are getting involved in this were like, you're over here, your science project. Not really sure if there's going to be anything from that, but now all of a sudden, it seems more front and center, and while these are still early examples like the attention on this.

Mathew: Absolutely.

Jeremy: I'm curious if you're finding, and again, you don't need to speak on behalf of Goldman Sachs here, but if you're finding and you're seeing not just in Goldman because you deal with a lot of other counterparties firms. Do people want to work in this? Is this like attracting talent, like internally and again not getting into anything proprietary, but have you seen that see change a little bit in terms of the energy of talent?

Mathew: A hundred percent. You just need to look at some of the crypto native organizations and the amount of talent that they've hired from institutions like ours and people are energized. They see a huge potential on the forward with digital assets and it comes back to what is digital assets. We've given a little overview, but from a firm perspective, I would say every other client discussion, a lot of people have and is on digital assets.

Senior people across the different institutions really want to understand how can this positively impact their business on the forward. This energizes senior management and people naturally are very eager to watch and see how the space develops and be involved. I have mentioned actually beginning, but even just my own team when I took on the job beginning of 2020. We've grown tenfold.

That is not as big as you like a Coinbase, for example, but they're just highlights. Where we see commercial opportunity in this space. We're looking, as I say, at the digitization of traditional assets. You then look at the crypto side of the business, how we can apply it internally. We obviously make strategic investments in this space. Then coming to your point around the regulator DeFi places, just seeing in a looking and how that can impact us on the forward. There's just a huge bank of work that we're doing in this space.

Jeremy: That's awesome. Well, very excited to see what emerges.

Mathew: Thank you.

Jeremy: Really appreciate the conversation today, Mathew.

Mathew: Likewise. Thank you very much for having me, Jeremy.

Jeremy: Cheers.

[music]

[00:37:34] [END OF AUDIO]

Jeremy Allaire
Co-Founder, CEO & Chairman at Circle
Mathew McDermott
Global Head of Digital Assets at Goldman Sachs

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