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Is BlackRock suggesting buying bitcoin futures using ‘certain funds?’

  • The world’s biggest asset manager with nearly $8 trillion in AUM might be laying the groundwork for buying bitcoin futures.
  • The asset manager is currently looking for a blockchain lead with experience in evaluating crypto assets.
  • The firm’s CEO and CIO have previously spoken positively about bitcoin.

BlackRock, the largest asset manager with $7.8 trillion in assets under management (AUM), has made suggestions that it could buy bitcoin futures via certain funds, at least according to two filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The two filings – for the BlackRock Funds V and BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc. – used common language referring to bitcoin futures.

“Certain Funds may engage in futures contracts based on bitcoin,” reads the two filings.

However, the filings are wary of the risks involved in buying bitcoin futures, stating that:

“A Fund’s investment in bitcoin futures may involve illiquidity risk, as bitcoin futures are not as heavily traded as other futures given that the bitcoin futures market is relatively new.”

It is important to note that the filings do not explicitly say that funds will be used to buy bitcoin futures. There is also no indication that the firm will buy physically or cash-settled bitcoin futures, should it decide to do so.

Historically, filings like these pave the way for companies to make such kinds of purchases, meaning that the asset manager could be laying down the regulatory foundation of purchasing bitcoin futures. 

BlackRock is in the crypto game

The firm has an open role for a blockchain lead at a vice-president level role. The successful applicant, who is required to have experience in evaluating crypto assets will “create and implement strategies designed to drive demand for the firm’s offerings and enhance the value proposition to clients of the firm’s investments and technology offerings.”

In December last year, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink acknowledged that bitcoin was capturing the attention of many people and that the cryptocurrency market is still very small compared with the others.

Speaking to Mark Carney, the former Governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Fink said that bitcoin had the potential to become a global market asset.

Less than two weeks before Fink spoke bullishly about bitcoin, BlackRock’s Chief Investment Officer Rick Rieder appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and said that the cryptocurrency, which is “here to stay,” could take the place of gold.

“Do I think it’s a durable mechanism that … could take the place of gold to a large extent? Yeah, I do, because it’s so much more functional than passing a bar of gold around,” he said.

Bitcoin’s recent hot-streak rally has caught the attention of institutional investors who are pumping money into the young market.

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