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Larry Fink, CEO of asset management firm BlackRock, said in a speech at the nonprofit body Council of Foreign Relations earlier this week that Bitcoin had “caught the attention and imagination of many people” and was poised to grow as an asset class.
The comments came as Bitcoin broke just above its all-time high price of nearly $19,800 on several crypto exchanges yesterday, before tumbling down to under $19,000. It has since crawled back over the line but has lost some momentum.
Fink noted that Bitcoin remains a niche market with a massive potential for upside. “Still untested, pretty small market relative to other markets,” he said.
He pointed out the asset’s infamous volatility (Bitcoin fell $900 in minutes just yesterday) but noted there was potential for upside. “It’s a thin market. Can it evolve into a global market? Possibly,” Fink stated.
BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager with $7.2 trillion in assets, caters to family offices, retail investors, fund managers, and pension funds. And while it has yet to dip its toes in the crypto market, some of the firm’s top executives have previously spoken positively about cryptocurrencies.
The upside predictions are not humble either. Just last month, BlackRock CIO Rick Rieder went as far as stating that Bitcoin could replace gold and was “here to stay,” adding the asset showed incredible staying power and was generally well received by millennials, as opposed to the yellow metal.
“Do I think it’s a durable mechanism, do I think it will 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,” Rieder said at the time.
Meanwhile, while BlackRock’s yet to formally announce an exposure to Bitcoin, it does hold a small amount indirectly. The fund manager reportedly owns 15% of enterprise software firm MicroStrategy, which announced a mammoth $425 million investment in Bitcoin earlier this year.
That bet is already up by over 60%—a return that even BlackRock can't ignore.