“It’s a very speculative instrument. More importantly, it is an instrument that people use for money laundering.”
So said Blackrock’s longstanding CEO, Larry Fink, at a Reuters conference in late 2017. It appears that either Bitcoin has altered since then or Fink has had a change of heart.
According to a Financial News report, BlackRock is going to be creating a team to investigate the merits of cryptocurrency investment. The working group will examine what benefits, if any, investing in cryptocurrencies can bring to the firm.
The report caused a minor shock-wave in the bitcoin market as traders responded to the news. Bitcoin was up nearly 4 percent this afternoon with the prospect of a major institutional player entering the space apparently stoking investors’ interest in the cryptocurrency.
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Weighing up the future
The new team will include Terry Simpson, a director in the firm’s investment strategy division. The working group is also likely, according to the report, to investigate whether or not BlackRock should invest in bitcoin futures.
BlackRock will also be looking at how its competitors are tackling the cryptocurrency market. Along with this, the firm’s new working group will be looking at what blockchain technology can do for BlackRock.
Fink is not the only big player in the institutional space to have previously denounced cryptocurrencies only to weigh up whether it is actually worth investing in them. Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan’s CEO, famously said that Bitcoin is “stupid.”
Just a few months later he said he was mistaken although he was still “not interested in the subject at all.” This was despite the fact that his firm was reportedly interested in offering clients access to bitcoin futures and had already started experimenting with blockchain technology.