After years of resistance, the world’s largest asset manager has finally dived into crypto in a major way. BlackRock, which controls $10 trillion in assets, has partnered with publicly traded Coinbase to give its institutional clients access to cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin is the first digital asset to be offered through the partnership, according to blog post Coinbase, the most popular crypto exchange in the US, posted on the matter today. BlackRock’s Aladdin investment management platform will offer connectivity to Coinbase Prime to offer crypto trading, custody, prime brokerage and reporting capabilities to shared clients.
“Ordinary customers of Aladdin and Coinbase will be able to manage their bitcoin exposures alongside their public and private investments for a portfolio-wide risk overview,” BlackRock wrote in a statement.
The news marks a major shift for BlackRock, whose chairman Larry Fink called bitcoin a “money laundering index” five years ago. Since then, the asset management firm has made some progress on web3, introducing bitcoin futures trading to its platform and several of their funds last year. Fink told shareholders in a letter in March this year that BlackRock is studying “digital currencies, stablecoins and underlying technologies” to see how they can help the firm serve its clients.
Coinbase Prime has 13,000 institutional customers using the suite of tools today, according to the company. It remains unclear when the companies plan to add other cryptocurrency offerings outside of Bitcoin to the platform.
It’s a big day for Coinbase. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, too announced today that his company has added Coinbase wallet integration, among other third-party crypto wallets, to the Instagram platform. Shares of Coinbase rose more than 17% as of 11:00 a.m. EST today and are also up more than 70% in the past month, demonstrating that the company has begun to recover from the lows it hit in May when The crypto market pullback has bottomed out.
Adverse conditions in the crypto market seem to have hit the exchange particularly hard as it announced a hiring freeze and a circle of abbreviations this summer, the latter of which represented 18% of its employee base at the time. Its competitors had different responses to the “crypto winter” — Gemini was executed two rounds of cuts in recent months, while Binance.US is actively recruiting new employees.