BlackRock’s Anti-Bitcoin CEO Larry Fink’s Heir is Crypto Critic Mark Wiedman

Journalist:
Samantha Chang @Samantha_Chang
January 10, 2019
Mark Wiedman of BlackRock (YouTube)

Larry Fink, the anti-bitcoin CEO of BlackRock (world’s largest asset manager controlling $6.29 trillion), promoted senior managing director Mark Wiedman to oversee all of the firm’s international operations. Like his boss, Wiedman is a vocal crypto critic.

The new role makes Wiedman an heir apparent to the top job at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager and ETF provider.

In his new position, Wiedman will develop a global corporate strategy for BlackRock, the Financial News reported. Wiedman is now one of six BlackRock board members who are in line to succeed Larry Fink should he step down.

For now, Fink, 66, has no plans to retire from BlackRock, which has more than $6 trillion in assets under management.

Larry Fink: Crypto Is Not Legitimate

As CCN reported, Fink is a bitcoin skeptic who believes cryptocurrencies are not a legitimate asset class.

Fink cited bitcoin’s erratic price swings, as well as the anonymous and unregulated nature of the market for his reluctance to launch a bitcoin ETF.

“I wouldn’t say never —  when it’s legitimate, yes,” Fink said. “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.

Similarly, Fink’s apprentice, Mark Wiedman, is also a crypto skeptic.

Wiedman: ‘I Wouldn’t Recommend Bitcoin’

Wiedman says he doesn’t see the point of a bitcoin ETF. He also says he wouldn’t advise a client to hold crypto long-term.

“I don’t quite get the point of a bitcoin ETF,” Wiedman told Bloomberg in October 2017 (video below). “If bitcoin is ever successful, I wouldn’t recommend it. But if it were [successful], why would you need an ETF to access it?”

Meanwhile, crypto market players are optimistic that the Securities and Exchange Commission will approve the first-ever bitcoin ETF soon.

Gabor Gurbacs — the director of market strategy at NYC investment firm VanEck — is confident that his firm’s bitcoin ETF application will win SEC approval in the near future.

“It’s fairly certain to us that America wants a bitcoin ETF,” Gurbacs told Cheddar (video below). “We think that we’ve met all market structure obstacles and requirements on pricing, custody, valuation, and safekeeping, so we are cautiously optimistic.”

In December 2018, the SEC delayed making a decision on VanEck’s bitcoin ETF application until February 27, 2019. The agency had postponed the decision several times last year.

So far, no investment group has found the winning formula. In August 2018, the SEC rejected 9 bitcoin ETF applications, citing a failure to demonstrate how the investment vehicle could prevent fraud and market manipulation.

In June 2018 and again in March 2017, the SEC rejected the bitcoin ETF applications submitted by the Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron. Despite the setbacks, the Winklevoss twins — the founders of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini — are confident that approval is around the corner.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): January 10, 2019 15:54

Samantha Chang @Samantha_Chang

Samantha Chang is a New York City-based financial editor who writes about crypto and business at . She is a law school grad and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania. You can reach her on Twitter at Samantha Chang or email her at schang121@juno.com.