BlackRock CEO Expresses Interest in Cryptocurrency
Over the past week, Bitcoin has seemingly awoken from its recent slumber, shooting up over $1,500 to its current price of over $8200.
One of the main drivers behind the surge is, as usual, speculation of institutional interest in cryptocurrency, this time coming from Larry Fink, CEO of leading investment management firm BlackRock.
“We are a big student of blockchain,” Fink said in a recent interview with Reuters. He added that there is not a “huge demand for cryptocurrencies,” but the company has a working group dedicated to studying it.
Fink joins the likes of Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, as financial sector leaders who have changed their stance on cryptocurrency. As recently as October, Fink seemed to dismiss Bitcoin completely:
“Bitcoin just shows you how much demand for money laundering there is in the world,” he said at an Institute of International Finance meeting, “That’s all it is.”
Fink wasn’t the only one at BlackRock who indicated the firm’s interest in cryptocurrency. A spokesman from the company told the Express.co.uk:
“Like most financial institutions, BlackRock has a working group that meets periodically to exchange information on blockchain and consists of employees from various parts of the business. We have been looking at blockchain technology for several years, recognizing potential for shared processes and data across market participants, clearing, settlement and reconciliation and simplified securities issuance.”
The ramifications of BlackRock — a firm with $6 trillion worth of assets under management — entering the cryptocurrency space would be massive. As one of largest fixed income providers in the financial sector, it would stand to reason that BlackRock may be interested in creating a cryptocurrency-based financial product, namely a Bitcoin ETF. This would not only make Bitcoin more accessible to a whole new class of investors, but create demand for the actual coin itself, as it would need to be purchased and held in reserve as a backing for the ETF.
As of now, this remains speculation. But with Fink joining of the chorus of CEOs no longer writing off cryptocurrency, BlackRock’s involvement in the space bears monitoring.