BlackRock CEO Larry Fink likens crypto to ‘digitizing gold’; praises Bitcoin as an ‘international asset’
Five years ago, Larry Fink said BlackRock would not consider dealing in crypto until it was 'legitimate'; its Bitcoin ETF applications beg the question if the world's largest asset manager considers that threshold met.
“Bitcoin is not based on any one currency, and so it can represent an asset that people can play as an alternative. It’s digitalizing gold in many ways. Instead of investing in gold as a hedge against the onerous problems of any one country or the devaluation of your currency of whatever country you’re in, Bitcoin is an international asset.”
The perspective contrasts with Fink’s comments at the New York Times Dealbook Conference in 2018. At the time, he expressed caution about the cryptocurrency industry, stating that it needed time to mature and become “legitimate” before BlackRock would consider trading crypto assets or launching crypto-based ETFs.
Fink also voiced concerns at the time about the lack of regulation and backing for crypto-assets, suggesting that they would need to be backed by a government before BlackRock would get involved.
Fast forward to today, and BlackRock finds itself at the forefront of efforts to synthesize crypto markets with more traditional ones. In June, the company filed plans with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create a spot Bitcoin ETF through its iShares subsidiary.
The filing marked a significant shift in the financial landscape, as no spot Bitcoin ETF has ever been approved by the SEC due to concerns over market manipulation and lack of oversight on many cryptocurrency exchanges. Despite these challenges, BlackRock’s move has triggered a wave of institutional interest, with a survey by Laser Digital revealing that 96% of professional investors are keen to invest in crypto.
Fink’s recent comments and BlackRock’s ongoing efforts signal a growing acceptance of cryptocurrency within the financial sector.
While the path to SEC approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF remains uncertain, Fink’s shift in perspective from five years ago underscores the rapid evolution of the cryptocurrency landscape. His comments today reflect a belief in the potential of Bitcoin as an international asset, unanchored to any one country, and a tool for investment in a better tomorrow. It begs the question if BlackRock’s moves this summer signal that it now considers cryptocurrency “legitimate.”