Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have rebounded this week, riding a wave of good news for the crypto market.
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The bitcoin price jumped to over $45,000 per bitcoin after a senior Russian official said the country would accept bitcoin as payment for its energy exports. Meanwhile, the ethereum price has continued to climb as “enthusiasm” builds ahead of a long-awaited upgrade.
Now, Larry Fink, the chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with around $10 trillion in assets under management, has said his company is “studying” digital currencies due to climbing client demand.
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“As we see increasing interest from our clients, BlackRock is studying digital currencies, stablecoins and the underlying technologies to understand how they can help us serve our clients,” Fink wrote this week in a letter to BlackRock shareholders.
Fink has previously dismissed bitcoin and crypto, saying in a CNBC interview last year that he doesn’t see much demand for crypto. In February, Coindesk reported BlackRock was gearing up to follow other Wall Street giants including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citi, into crypto services, and is planning to let clients borrow from BlackRock by pledging crypto assets as collateral.
This week, Goldman became the first major U.S. bank to trade crypto over the counter, working with crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital to offer a bitcoin-linked instrument called a non-deliverable option.
Fink, who branded bitcoin an “index of money laundering” five years ago, pointed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and wide-ranging financial sanctions placed on the country as a catalyst for mainstream crypto adoption.
“The war will prompt countries to re-evaluate their currency dependencies,” Fink wrote. “Even before the war, several governments were looking to play a more active role in digital currencies and define the regulatory frameworks under which they operate.”
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The war in Ukraine has also upended the world order that had been in place since the end of the Cold War, according to Fink, who predicted it will “put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades.”
“It has left many communities and people feeling isolated and looking inward,” he wrote. “I believe this has exacerbated the polarization and extremist behavior we are seeing across society today.”
Fink’s comments chime with others in the financial world who see strict Russia sanctions, which have included the country’s banks being excluded from the SWIFT interbank messaging service and restrictions put on the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves, as a shake-up of the system.
In March, a Credit Suisse analyst said the Russian war in Ukrainian will create a new world financial order that could boost the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
“We are witnessing the birth of Bretton Woods III—a new world (monetary) order centered around commodity-based currencies in the East that will likely weaken the Eurodollar system and also contribute to inflationary forces in the West,” Zoltan Pozsar, global head of short-term interest rate strategy at the giant investment bank, wrote in a report.