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BlackRock CEO’s Crypto About-Face

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, changed his stance on crypto during 2022, sending strong trust signals to the markets.

Back in 2017, Fink said bitcoin was an “index of money laundering.” But in the summer of 2022, BlackRock, with $10 trillion under management, made two forays into bitcoin, further cementing the asset’s establishment as a mainstream investment.

Read more: Presenting CoinDesk's Most Influential 2022

The asset manager connected its Aladdin investment platform to Coinbase Prime, giving TradFi investors access to bitcoin, as prelude to expansion into other cryptocurrencies eventually. The firm also announced a spot bitcoin private trust, giving its clients direct exposure to the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

These moves were in response to demand from clients, BlackRock noted in its announcements, showing how even the biggest traditional investment bankers can’t ignore crypto any more.

As big TradfFi firms advance into crypto, they bring an infusion of cash and open the floodgates to hordes of new consumers and investors. However, the old-guard crypto community is apprehensive. What was envisioned as an anarchic financial technology is increasingly being co-opted by large institutions. Based on his moves in the past year and his enormous influence on the world of finance, Fink will be one of the people to shape crypto’s future, including just how close it stays true to its anti-establishment beginnings.