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The recent surge in cryptocurrency prices has been driven by retail investors, but institutions are starting to join in, Goldman Sachs' (GS.N), opens new tab head of digital assets Mathew McDermott said on Tuesday.

Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency, hit an all-time high of $73,794 last week and has gained 50% so far this year, pulling other crypto prices along with it.

"The price action ... has still been driven by retails primarily. But it's the institutions that we’ve started to see come in," McDermott said, speaking at the Digital Asset Summit (DAS) conference in London. "You really see now the appetite is transformed."

Goldman Sachs launched a crypto trading desk in 2021 and is continuing to build on it, McDermott said.

"Last year was tough but just coming through to this year we've seen a big sea-change not only in terms of the types of clients but also in terms of volumes," he said.

No one knows for sure what is driving bitcoin's latest gains, although analysts point to billions of dollars that have flowed into U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs which launched this year. McDermott said that the ETFs prompted a "psychological shift".

The bitcoin rally has cooled slightly in recent days, along with other riskier assets, after a series of U.S. data releases that suggested the Federal Reserve may not cut interest rates this year as much as previously expected.

Cryptocurrencies surged during 2020 and 2021, when ultra-low interest rates helped drive speculative investment.

The pandemic-era boom was followed by a sharp plunge in 2022, when a string of bankruptcies and failures at the biggest crypto firms, including FTX, wiped $2 trillion off the crypto market and left millions of investors out of pocket.

Shawky commented, saying, “There is a problem related to harmonization between the global tax and the corporate income tax in Egypt, which amounts to 22.5% and is therefore higher than international trends. In addition, Egyptian companies that have business abroad find it difficult to harmonize foreign laws and comply with the global tax of 15% with compliance.” The Egyptian tax is 22.5%, in addition to companies that have international exemptions from old laws.”

He pointed out that Egypt's competition with other countries in the region is unfair and not in Egypt's interest, and the global tax will place additional burdens on countries and will place some restrictions on tax and investment incentives in other countries.

To confront these challenges, Shawqi believes it is necessary to provide greater investment benefits to attract companies, facilitate tax recovery procedures and implement economic decisions and incentives in a practical way, as well as activate the use of digital transformation platforms and develop them fully, in addition to holding a community dialogue before issuing any binding instructions to companies so as not to disrupt... Business and clarity.

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