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Goldman bets that blockchain is the future of financial markets, considers creating own stablecoin

Goldman Sachs is renewing its push into Wall Street's digital future.

The firm made Mathew McDermott, a managing director who ran the investment bank's internal funding operations, its new global head of digital assets last month, CNBC has learned exclusively.

The appointment means the newest face of blockchain and cryptocurrency on Wall Street isn't a starry-eyed bitcoin evangelist or ostentatious start-up founder, but a 46-year-old veteran of old-school financing markets. McDermott replaces Justin Schmidt, an MIT-educated former crypto trader and quant who ran Goldman's digital assets team since 2018.

McDermott, who is based in London, does have a radical vision for markets, however: a future in which all of the world's financial assets reside on electronic ledgers, and activities that today require squadrons of bankers and lawyers like initial public offerings and debt issuances could be largely automated.

"In the next five to 10 years, you could see a financial system where all assets and liabilities are native to a blockchain, with all transactions natively happening on chain," McDermott said in an interview. "So what you're doing today in the physical world, you just do digitally, creating huge efficiencies. And that can be debt issuances, securitization, loan origination; essentially you'll have a digital financial markets ecosystem, the options are pretty vast."

Goldman's movements are closely watched in blockchain and crypto circles as proponents have seized on anything the bank does as evidence of the technology's broader adoption. The bank recently drew the ire of the Winklevoss twins, co-founders of the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, for a report from its consumer and investment management division that declared that bitcoin isn't an asset class.

As hype and media coverage of the space has cooled down, there are signs of growing conviction among business leaders that distributed ledgers including blockchain ...

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