Former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond said that digital currencies have a prominent role to play in finance, especially stablecoins.
Diamond believes “there’s going to be a lot of good things” that persist despite last year’s downturn. “I don’t think as an industry we’re going to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said.
Although scandals and market turmoil may have inflamed skepticism of cryptocurrencies, Diamond is confident of their future role in finance. “In my mind there is a place for a digital currency, a very important place,” Diamond said.
Remarking on the breadth of the term “crypto,” Diamond said that sectors within the industry had “unquestionably” demonstrated their value. He singled out stablecoins and similar blockchain-based currency equivalents, such as central bank digital currencies. “I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t believe that in the future a digital version of the dollar for institutional and corporate use isn’t going to happen and be far more efficient,” Diamond said.
Circle Public Listing
Diamond derived his confidence in the future role of stablecoins from his experience over the past year. The former Barclays chief now leads private equity group Atlas Merchant, which has invested in crypto company Circle. However, late last year, Atlas aborted its plans to take the issuer of stablecoin USDC public.
Originally announced in July 2021, Circle had intended to go public through a special purpose acquisition company. It decided to delay the transaction in an effort to raise more than the initial $715 million, setting a deadline of Dec. 10. However, by Dec. 5, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had yet to declare the filing effective, prompting the decision to cancel the deal.
Ousting from Barclays
Diamond is one of the most prominent traditional financiers to have become involved in the crypto space. However, his decision may have been aided by his fall from grace, when he resigned as chief executive of Barclays in 2012.
The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority had found that traders employed by the bank had manipulated misconstrued key interest rate metrics. The financial regulation fined the bank a record £290 million in total for “serious, widespread breaches of City rules relating to the Libor and Euribor rates”.
Although initially resistant, Diamond was eventually forced to resign, after which he founded Atlas Merchant.
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