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UPDATE 1-Coinbase shares soar on deal to provide crypto services for BlackRock clients

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(Adds more context)

Aug 4 (Reuters) - Shares in cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc soared more than 16% on Thursday after it announced that it had partnered with BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, to provide its institutional clients with access to crypto trading and custody services.

The agreement offers some positive news for the company which, like many in the crypto sector, has been battered by a slump in crypto asset prices as investors fled risky assets amid geopolitical turmoil, rising rates and worries of an impending recession.

Coinbase has been among the worst hit, with shares down over 60% so far this year.

The company's institutional trading platform for crypto assets, Coinbase Prime, will provide crypto trading, custody, prime brokerage and reporting capabilities to institutional clients on BlackRock's Aladdin, who are also clients of Coinbase.

Aladdin offers a suite of software tools designed to help institutional investors manage their portfolios.

The news underscores how traditional institutions including pension funds, hedge funds, and banks have been pushing into crypto assets over the past 18 months, wagering the alternative asset class is here to stay.

“Our institutional clients are increasingly interested in gaining exposure to digital asset markets and are focused on how to efficiently manage the operational lifecycle of these assets,” said Joseph Chalom, Global Head of Strategic Ecosystem Partnerships at BlackRock in a statement.

Coinbase has been building out its institutional client base via its Prime platform which services hedge funds, corporate treasuries and other financial institutions, it says.

Institutional trading volumes on Coinbase in the first quarter of 2022 were $235 billion compared with $74 billion for retail customers, its filings show. While that institutional volume was down compared with the previous three quarters, it was up just over 9% compared with the same quarter last year. (Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru and Michelle Price in Washington DC; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Janet McBride)