BlackRock’s Fink wants to ‘democratize’ crypto

Larry Fink joined Fox Business to discuss BlackRock’s application for a spot bitcoin ETF


BlackRock CEO Larry Fink | Source: World Economic Forum (CC license)


BlackRock CEO Larry Fink believes that the firm’s application to launch a spot bitcoin ETF could help to “democratize” crypto.

During a Fox Business interview, Fink also said that BlackRock hopes to make crypto “much cheaper for investors.”

“Right now, the bid-ask spread for crypto is very expensive,” he said.

BlackRock announced its spot bitcoin in early June, proposing the launch of an iShares Bitcoin Trust which would tap Coinbase as both its bitcoin custodian and the operator as part of its surveillance-sharing agreement. The latter is a move by most of the recent spot bitcoin ETF applicants — including ARK and Fidelity — to help strengthen the filings in the hopes that the SEC approves the ETFs.

BlackRock’s current ETF application approvals show a stellar record, with only one denial — from 2014 — out of over 575 applications.

However, the SEC has taken a stricter stance on crypto in recent years and filed a lawsuit against Coinbase for operating as an unregulated exchange earlier this summer. 

BlackRock, along with the other applicants, has also hit hurdles with the SEC, and the applicants have all had to refile their applications to specifically name Coinbase in the applications

Fink started off as bearish on crypto, commenting in 2017 that bitcoin shows “how much demand for money laundering there is in the world.”  

However, he’s come around to crypto in recent years. In late 2020, Fink said that Bitcoin had caught his attention, and BlackRock Chief Investment Officer Rick Rieder said bitcoin could possibly replace gold.

A belief that still stands, with Fink saying Wednesday, “I do believe the role of crypto is it’s digitizing gold in many ways.” He also referred to bitcoin as an “international asset.”

The BlackRock CEO worried that the US was lagging in innovation in his annual letter to investors earlier this year, while also saying that BlackRock would continue to explore digital assets.

Updated July 6, 2023 at 11:40 am ET: Attributed Rick Rieder as saying that bitcoin could replace gold.

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