Last week, BlackRock’s application for a spot Bitcoin ETF set off a wave of new filings from other investment managers hoping to secure approval with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Some industry watchers dubbed the event as one that “breathed life” back into the crypto space, with existing digital asset funds recording hundreds of millions of dollars of inflows since the filing.
In an interview with Fox Business on Wednesday, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said he believes that the role of crypto is “digitizing gold” in many ways. He suggested that Bitcoin could be an alternative to gold in order to hedge against inflation or devaluation of a local currency.
“Let’s be clear – Bitcoin is an international asset,” said Fink.
“It’s not based on any one currency, and so it can represent an asset that people can play as an alternative.”
The BlackRock chief’s statements today are in stark contrast to those made in 2017, when he described Bitcoin as an “index of money laundering.” At the time, Bitcoin was trading at just $5,800, but had gained 470% over the year.
Bitcoin is currently trading at $30,450, with Fink’s comments having little effect on its price. However, the fact that the leading digital asset is now seemingly less susceptible to wild swings in price may well be the reason why bigger institutional players are taking it more seriously.
Although the SEC is yet to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF, market participants are particularly optimistic about BlackRock’s chances given the investment manager’s track record of having nearly every ETF application approved.
“We hope that, like in the past, we could be working with our regulators and get the filing approved one day, and I have no idea what that one day will be, but we’ll see how that all plays out,” said Fink.
“We do believe that if we can create more tokenization of assets and securities – that’s what bitcoin is – it could revolutionize finance.”