- BlackRock, the American (and therefore global) juggernaut of financial asset management is making the news in France, its Director France Jean-François Cirelli, having just been promoted to “Officer of the Legion of Honor”
- The calendar for this distinction, in the midst of an explosive pension reform debate, could hardly have come at a worse time, especially as the shadow of BlackRock hangs over the negotiations.
- What is BlackRock’s position on Bitcoin, blockchain and crypto-assets?
BlackRock, a giant with a light step
Despite his often envied and sometimes feared title of heavyweight financial asset managers (6,300 billion euros under management, almost three times French GDP), BlackRock maintains good discretion and remains largely unknown to the general public.
A black stone in the Elysée shoe
However, many are scandalized to find the influence of BlackRock, a little too visible in the vicinity of Elysées, in the midst of a crisis around the pension reform. No one is obviously fooled by the presence of fund lobbyists lurking in the midst of societal change around the privatization of part of pensions, a major subject of the moment for one of the biggest economies in the world!
A communicator’s nightmare
As such, award to François Cirelli, Director France of BlackRock the rank of Officer of the Legion of Honor, promotion of January 1, 2020, clearly sent a funny message to the little people of those who only perceive the whole operation as an industrial way of repackaging 1/2 century of social achievements in neo-liberal sauce.
However, beyond the relevance of these questions, and even as 2020 is regularly presented as the pivotal year where institutional investors will enter the crypto industry, what is BlackRock’s position vis-à-vis Bitcoin and blockchain?
BlackRock and Bitcoin, the necessary convergence
Suppose for a moment that the most powerful pension fund in the world (and most likely in history) does not follow with the greatest of attentions the active having most outperformed in the last 10 years would be touchingly naive.
However, if there is one thing that we do not mess with when we handle over $ 6 trillion in assets for the benefit of hundreds of companies, themselves among the most powerful, regulatory insecurity and the issues of conformity. As such BlackRock does not yet openly express any eagerness to rush into the crypto industry.
What we do know, however, is that in coordination with one of the most powerful players in crypto, I named the exchange Coinbase, BlackRock worked – and probably still works – at the establishment of ETF Bitcoin (Exchange-Traded Fund), in full compliance with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). No wonder, if Bakk is a leader on the subject, the “domestication”Of the fiery Bitcoin through more traditional stock market products, is one of the major challenges of the sector.
Blockchain, not Bitcoin (and even less Libra)
In one of his rare interventions on the subject, the CEO of BlackRock Larry Fink recalled last July the perception of blockchain technology by Blackrock. The opportunity to swing a (black) stone in the garden of Mark zuckerberg :
“There is a huge need to democratize the exchange of foreign currency in the context of cross-border transactions and to reduce exchange costs. To reduce these exchange costs, the world does not need Libra, but technology. I actually believe in the idea behind Libra – I don’t think we need to create a new currency, but technology to instantly calibrate all currencies. It should be done. “
The message is clear, without mentioning the least bitcoin or formally the blockchain, the all-powerful CEO takes advantage of this to disqualify the Facebook Libra project. Note that, in accordance with a form of tradition, Larry Fink explained in 2017 to consider Bitcoin as a simple indicator of the global demand for money laundering.
One of the clearest positions, which seems to have evolved recently. Indeed, on distrust of the Libra project, Blackrock did not really try to hide the establishment of a dedicated working group on Distributed Registries technologies and crypto assets. Note that on the occasion of this announcement, Blackrock will speak blockchain, while carefully avoiding mentioning any cryptocurrency.
We can mention to conclude, the fact that alumni of BlackRock join crypto companies, like the ex-COO of the fund Howard Surloff, now an advisor at Blockchain.com, demonstrating how the barriers are being refined between fintech sector and traditional finance players.
The day will come when BlackRock will clearly position itself in a sector whose potential has not escaped the attention of a company that would pass Facebook off as an economic dwarf. Will 2020 see the American giant take this step?
Nice to meet you, it’s Hellmouth! Editor-in-chief of Bitcoin, the crypto media you are honoring to survey right now (well done, you have taste).
Crypto-enthusiast of the second hour, nothing is more important to me than supporting the global adoption and democratization of the treasures that the blockchain offers us.
I write articles between two cocktails in Tahiti, my adopted island, and do not hesitate, if the opportunity arises, to feast on a plump scam or a little too enterprising Ponzi pyramid.
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