Isabelle Mateos Y Lagos, global chief multi-asset strategist at Blackrock, visited Bloomberg yesterday to discuss Bitcoin and her firm's interest in it. Blackrock is the world's largest asset manager, with $5.7 Trillion under management. That's Trillion with a "T."
Her comments are in contrast to those from Blackrock CEO Larry Fink. In October 2017, Fink who stated that the crypto space is the "index of money laundering" during the Institute of Finance meeting. His exact quote:
"Bitcoin just shows you how much demand for money laundering there is in the world, that's all it is."
At the time Bitcoin traded at $5700.
See the video from this interview here:
Fink hasn't been the only Blackrock exec who has spoken out against Bitcoin. Mark Wiedman, head of Index investments at Blackrock, stated that there is no point to a cryptocurrency tied ETF. His quote from October 2017:
"I don’t quite get the point of a bitcoin ETF in any case, because we’re talking about...trading products that are difficult to access. If bitcoin is ever successful – and again not my thing but – I wouldn’t recommend it. But if it were [successful], why would you need an ETF to access it?"
Now four months later, with Bitcoin trading around $11,000, there are Blackrock employees who are displaying a slightly different tone. Isabelle Mateos y Lago stated that her firm is getting a ton of requests into bitcoin and blockchain. She also remarked how the interest has persisted despite the constant attacks and hacks on the cryptocurrencies and exchanges. To her, this indicates that there is something behind this craze. She said that this is not an investable asset for Blackrock at this stage, but they are keeping a close eye. See the interview here:
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) January 29, 2018
On a related note, two Blackrock bond specialists: Michael Wong and Adam Grimsley are leaving Blackrock to launch a cryptocurrency hedge fund.