The recent implosion of once one of the largest cryptocurrency trading platforms in the world, FTX, and the subsequent devastation it caused across the entire crypto industry has demonstrated that the sector still has supporters left but is not short of vocal critics either.
One of them is a long-time crypto skeptic Larry Fink, a CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company that oversees around $8 trillion and, interestingly, has invested close to $24 million in FTX through a vehicle called ‘a fund of funds,’ as Fink himself said.
This places it among the many companies from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, including Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global, that have suffered a heavy blow (or even gone bankrupt) following the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s Bahamas-based crypto exchange.
Warming up to crypto
In 2017, Fink dubbed crypto an ‘index of money laundering,’ but over the past year or so, his critical attitude toward cryptos has shifted from disdain and hard skepticism to open interest and consideration.
In October 2021, Finbold reported on the BlackRock chairman expressing interest in digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC), stating he was on the fence about them thriving in the future but voicing a belief that they could play a huge role at some point.
Five months later, Fink wrote in a letter to shareholders that:
“BlackRock is studying digital currencies, stablecoins, and the underlying technologies to understand how they can help us serve our clients. (…) A global digital payment system, thoughtfully designed, can enhance the settlement of international transactions while reducing the risk of money laundering and corruption.”
In April 2022, Fink shared his company’s experience with increasing interest from clients in digital assets, admitting that BlackRock was studying cryptocurrencies and their ecosystems shortly after announcing its investment in stablecoin issuer Circle.
Meanwhile, he was criticized by Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of investment firm SkyBridge Capital, who said that Fink, as well as JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, and Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO Warren Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger, had all failed to do their homework on crypto.
On the recent collapse
That said, the FTX-induced crypto crash has served as evidence for BlackRock’s CEO that most crypto firms are not going to make it, as he opined during an interview at the New York Times DealBook Summit on November 30:
“I actually believe most of the companies are not going to be around.”
However, Fink still remains a believer that the underlying crypto technology has potential, such as facilitating instant settlement of securities and streamlining shareholder voting.
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