BlackRock CEO Larry Fink fully shed his crypto skeptic shell today and defended Bitcoin as a check against authoritarian governments. During a day-long media tour, Fink stopped by Fox Business to discuss this landmark week in which the SEC approved 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs. Fink hailed Bitcoin as a store of value and a tool to thwart economic government manipulation.
“Let’s be clear: if you’re in a country where you’re fearful of your government—and maybe this is one of the reasons why China has banned it—if you’re in a country where you’re fearful of your future, fearful of your government, or you’re frightened that your government is devaluing its currency by too much deficits, you could say this is a great potential long-term store of value,” he said.
His stance is a far cry from where he stood in 2017, when Fink joined JP Morgan CEO and longtime Bitcoin critic Jamie Dimon in speaking out against Bitcoin, with Fink calling Bitcoin an “index of money laundering.”
While Fink acknowledged Bitcoin’s use in illicit activity today, he said his view of Bitcoin began turning around in the midst of the pandemic, telling the broadcaster that there is also much opportunity in Bitcoin.
“I came around to it and around to a different interpretation three years ago,” Fink said in an interview with Fox Business anchor Charles Gasparino. “There’s a lot of merit to it, there’s a lot of opportunity… [Bitcoin] is a great store, and this is where you can debate if it is a good store.”
Given his change of heart, Fink said the issue now is whether people will believe that Bitcoin can be an asset that can cross borders.
Despite the collapse of FTX, Fink said, Bitcoin is becoming more legitimate.
“I think the advent of Bitcoin ETFs is an example that we’re legitimizing it; we’re creating more safety,” he noted.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved the first set of spot Bitcoin ETFs, including ETFs from BlackRock, VanEck, Hashdex, Grayscale, and Bitwise.
The price of Bitcoin neared $49,000 on Thursday before falling to $43,000 as the excitement around the ETF approvals calmed. As of this writing, Bitcoin is hovering just above $42,300, according to CoinMarketCap.
In a separate Friday interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, Fink said he sees value in an Ethereum ETF,
“I see value in having an Ethereum ETF,” Fink said. “As I said, these are just start stepping stones towards tokenization.”
Fink, however, demurred when asked about future crypto-based ETFs, like Ethereum and—more specifically—XRP, declining to comment.
“I can’t,” he said, “And you don’t want me to.”
Edited by Ryan Ozawa.