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BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, has made $360,000 on bitcoin futures since January, according to a filing on Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Two of its funds were authorized to invest in these products, meaning BlackRock had only allocated a minimal percentage of its total $8.6 trillion managed assets to bitcoin futures.
The SEC filing showed BlackRock's Global Allocation Fund held 37 bitcoin CME futures contracts that expired this week. The contracts made $360,450. Owning the futures is not the same as owning bitcoin outright, as these contracts don't always involve actual purchase of the underlying asset.
The second BlackRock fund with scope for investing in bitcoin futures contracts is the Strategic Income Opportunities fund. No data about its investments or profits has been made publicly available.
In February BlackRock's chief investment officer of global fixed income Rick Reider told CNBC the firm had "started to dabble" in cryptocurrencies. "Today, the volatility of it is extraordinary, but listen, people are looking for storehouses of value," he said.
Bitcoin remains volatile. It hit a record above $60,000 in mid-March, before falling to around $50,300 two weeks later. It was last trading around $58,600, up around 0.8% on the day and roughly double what it was worth at the start of this year.
Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank said it would remain this volatile due to its limited tradability. Various other large banks have also shown skepticism. UBS Global Wealth Management said that investing is a "gamble" due to its "limited real world use" and "extraordinary price volatility" just last week.
But bitcoin and other crypto assets have become increasingly popular with institutional investors, large companies and retail investors alike.
Fund Manager BNY Mellon has said it will start offering bitcoin services this year and various asset managers and investment banks, including JP Morgan, Fidelity, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, are working to gain crypto currency exposure for their clients. Visa, Mastercard and Paypal are also looking to allow digital assets to be used as payment methods on their systems.
- CME Group, world's largest derivatives marketplace, to offer micro bitcoin futures in May
- PayPal customers can now use cryptocurrency to pay merchants. Its CEO bought a pair of cowboy boots in the platform's first crypto checkout transaction.
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