Bitcoin has climbed through February, with the combined crypto market adding almost $300 billion since its January lows—despite a serious JPMorgan price warning.
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The bitcoin price is still down around 40% from its November peak, however, with other major coins including ethereum, BNB, solana, cardano and XRP also far below their 2021 highs.
Now, reports have emerged that the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, which looks after $10 trillion in assets for institutional investors, is gearing up to enter the bitcoin and cryptocurrency market.
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“[BlackRock] sees all the flow that everyone else is getting and want to start making some money from this,” a person with knowledge of BlackRock’s plans told Coindesk.
Another said BlackRock will allow its clients to trade cryptocurrency through its sophisticated Aladdin investment management platform, while a third said BlackRock is “looking to get hands-on with outright crypto” and was “looking at providers in the space.”
BlackRock’s interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has been growing over the last few years. In December of 2020, BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink said a growing search volume for “bitcoin” on the firm’s website indicated a growing legitimacy, adding the level of attention generated by previous BlackRock comments on bitcoin showed how the cryptocurrency has “caught the attention and the imagination of many” who are “fascinated and excited by it.”
In May, Fink said the asset manager was studying bitcoin to determine whether it could offer countercyclical benefits and speculated bitcoin could potentially play a role in long-term investing as an asset class similar to gold.
Last year, one of BlackRock’s funds bought bitcoin futures and just last month the asset manager filed for an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that would hold blockchain and crypto companies.
Through 2021 other Wall Street giants have begun exploring bitcoin and cryptocurrencies amid increasing demand from their clients. However, most are highly cautious and have signaled they want to see more regulatory clarity before moving forward.
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In July last year, Bank of America approved the trading of bitcoin futures for some clients after Goldman Sachs relaunched its cryptocurrency trading desk after a three-year hiatus. Despite the bank’s chief executive Jamie Dimon remaining skeptical of bitcoin and crypto, JPMorgan last year gave its wealth management clients access to cryptocurrency funds.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency acceptance on Wall Street was bolstered by the launch of the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF in October last year and corporate adoption of bitcoin and crypto is slowly increasing.
Earlier this week, the Canadian branch of accounting giant KPMG announced it had added both bitcoin and ethereum to its balance sheet, while Elon Musk’s Tesla said the value of its bitcoin holdings had grown to more than $2 billion.