The world’s largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider BlackRock announced the formation of a working group to assess potential involvement in Bitcoin (BTC), Financial News (FN) reports today, July 16.
The move furthers a U-turn on BlackRock’s previously critical stance towards cryptocurrency. Following in the footsteps of fellow giant Goldman Sachs, the cross-industry working group convened by BlackRock will among other things focus on whether the company should invest in Bitcoin futures, FN reports, citing “two people familiar with the matter.”
In general comments to FN, a spokeswoman from BlackRock said the company had been “looking at blockchain for several years” but did not mention cryptocurrency.
Experts will be examining competitor moves, the publication paraphrases sources as revealing, indicating Goldman’s U-turn on its previously bearish stance had not gone unnoticed.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein had repeatedly told the media that Bitcoin “is not for him,” before a sudden announcement that a dedicated research team was looking at how Goldman could provide a range of cryptocurrency-based products in the wake of customer demand.
BlackRock could well follow suit, despite its CEO Larry Fink describing Bitcoin just prior to last year’s all-time price highs as “an instrument people use for money laundering.”
In February of this year, the company had already stated cryptocurrency options were “under close review,” eyeing “wider” use in future.
BlackRock had just under $6.3 trln in assets under management as of 2017.
The broader narrative that institutional money is waiting its ideal entry point meanwhile continues to circulate among commentators. Over the weekend, CNBC’s trading advisor Ran Neuner even suggested a future influx would “make 2017” –– and its highs –– “look like a warm-up.” All that is needed, he said, is a modest price uptick.
Bitcoin jumped about 4 percent this morning in just over two hours, evidently on the bullish news from BlackRock, currently trading at $6,605 at press time.