The world’s largest asset manager, with $6.3 trillion in assets under management as of December last year, is examining cryptocurrencies, and in particular whether they should invest in bitcoin futures.
BlackRock has set-up a working group to study cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology with the working group including New York multi-asset investment strategist Terry Simpson according to London’s Financial News.
“We are a big student of blockchain,” BlackRock’s Chief Executive Larry Fink told Reuters. He confirmed the working group, but said he doesn’t see “huge demand for cryptocurrencies.”
An unnamed spokesman for BlackRock, speaking to CNBC, provided slightly more detail, stating:
“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.”
Although they’ve had a working group to study blockchain technology since 2015, this new working group appears to be focusing on crypto specifically.
They are to see what competition is doing in the crypto area, and how that might affect their business, with results to be presented to senior management.
This news comes just days after Europe’s biggest ETF trader said they are now trading bitcoin and ethereum ETNs on Stockholm’s Nasdaq.
Making them the very first trading firm to announce they are now involved in the crypto space by somewhat directly buying bitcoin or eth through the ETN trackers.
In bitcoin futures trading, there are many involved institutions, but futures are cash settled. Some other institutions, like Canada’s biggest pension fund, has instead fairly directly bought eth itself.
Big names such as Soros, Rockefellers and others have also said their firms are now trading or investing in cryptos, with this BlackRock announcement now the latest indication that the institutional investors stage has very much begun.