The world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, with $9 trillion in assets under management has taken significant stakes in two publicly traded bitcoin mining firms through a capital commitment just shy of $383 million.
According to Forbes, BlackRock invested $206.7 million to buy 6.71% of Marathon Digital Holdings and $176.1 million to buy 6.61% Riot Blockchain. The investments were spread across several of BlackRock’s mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including its iShares Russell 2000 ETF.
BlackRock’s disclosure comes shortly after rival asset manager Fidelity Group revealed it has taken similarly large stakes in bitcoin mining firms. Vanguard Group, Forbes reports, is currently the largest shareholder in Marathon Digital, while BlackRock is in the lead with Riot Blockchain.
The $9 trillion asset manager’s disclosure comes as part of a larger trend of financial services providers ramping up their exposure to cryptocurrencies. In January of this year, the firm granted at least two of its funds the ability to invest in bitcoin futures.
The firm filed updated prospectuses for two of its funds including cash-settled bitcoin futures among assets they’re now permitted to buy. The filings, for the BlackRock Strategic Income Opportunities and the BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, appeared on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s website on Wednesday.
In April, BlackRock revealed its BlackRock Global Allocation Fund held 37 bitcoin futures contracts with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That same month its co-founder and CEO Larry Fink said crypto “could become a great asset class.”
BlackRock, which was founded in 1988, started with just eight people working in one room. It made its Initial Public Offering on the New York Stock Exchange on 1 October 1999 at $14 a share.
In 2006, BlackRock acquired Merrill Lynch Investment Management. Then in 2009, it acquired Barclay’s Global Investors (BGI), “becoming the world’s largest asset manager, with employees in 24 countries.”
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