BlackRock — the world’s largest asset manager and ETF provider — has slowly been warming to crypto, but will not launch a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) until the industry becomes “legitimate,” said CEO Larry Fink.
“I wouldn’t say never — when it’s legitimate, yes,” Fink said at the New York Times Dealbook conference, as reported by CNBC. “It will ultimately have to be backed by a government. I don’t sense that any government will allow that unless they have a sense of where that money’s going.”
Fink expressed concern about the potential for scams, money laundering, and tax evasion because the crypto industry is decentralized, anonymous, and largely unregulated.
Until that changes, Fink said, BlackRock — which has $6.4 trillion in assets under management — will not roll out a cryptocurrency ETF.
“I do see one day where we could have electronic trading for a currency that could be a store of wealth,” Fink said. “But right now, the world doesn’t need a store of wealth unless you need that store of wealth for things you should not be doing.”
BlackRock began exploring bitcoin futures and other ways to gain exposure to crypto and blockchain in July 2018. The move came after Larry Fink repeatedly slammed bitcoin as an “index of money-laundering.”
Despite his skepticism of virtual currencies, Fink and BlackRock have been bullish about blockchain for years.
“We are a huge believer in blockchain,” Fink said. “The biggest use for blockchain will be in mortgages, mortgage applications, mortgage ownership — anything that’s labored with paper.”
In August 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected nine bitcoin ETF applications, dashing the hopes of crypto evangelists like the Winklevoss twins, who have repeatedly failed to win SEC approval, as CCN.com has reported.
In its order rejecting the latest round of bitcoin ETFs, the SEC said the applicants failed to demonstrate how they could prevent potential fraud and market manipulation.
Meanwhile, ETF management firm VanEck wants to be a pioneer by launching the first bitcoin ETF. Despite the recent SEC rejections, Gabor Gurbacs — VanEck’s director of digital asset strategies — believes SEC approval is around the corner.
“We are the closest that we can be,” Gurbacs told Fox Business on Nov. 1. “It is very clear to me that America wants a bitcoin ETF and we are here to build it.”
Despite the naysaying of crypto skeptics, Gurbacs is confident in the industry’s long-term outlook.
“I say bitcoin is digital gold and we should not dismiss a potential opportunity for the next financial system,” Gurbacs said.
One former crypto critic who has recently embraced digital currencies is former US congressman Ron Paul. As CCN.com reported, Paul now believes that crypto could prevent a recession.
“It is likely that the next Fed-created recession will come sooner rather than later,” Paul said. “This could be the major catastrophe that leads to the end of fiat currency.”
Ron Paul said the only way to avoid the next economic crisis is to let people use alternative currencies and to exempt “all transactions in precious metals and cryptocurrencies from capital gains taxes and other taxes.”
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Last modified: March 4, 2021 3:06 PM