BlackRock plans to offer crypto trading services: report

BlackRock is said to be gearing up to offer crypto trading to its investor clients.

According to a new report from CoinDesk, sources with knowledge of the plans say trading will occur on portfolio management system Aladdin, the asset manager's "Asset, Liability, Debt and Derivative Investment Network." The firm also plans to enable investors to borrow using crypto collateral. Still, it's not yet clear when crypto will be supported. 

BlackRock's interest in cryptocurrency has grown steadily in recent months. In December of 2020, CEO Laurence Fink said a growing search volume for "bitcoin" on the firm's website indicated a growing legitimacy. By March of 2021, one of its funds had purchased bitcoin futures. In January of this year, it filed for an exchange-traded fund that would hold blockchain and crypto firms. 

In June of last year, it began hiring for a blockchain strategy lead for its Aladdin platform. It's also looking for engineers versed in blockchain, under a job posting titled "software/blockchain engineer – distributed ledger technology & digital assets."

"The Aladdin Product Group is looking for a software engineer with experience in blockchain technology to help drive execution of our development activities in distributed ledger technology and digital assets," reads the posting. 

The responsibilities include designing and implementing service APIs, evaluating and auditing external smart contracts and developing BlackRock's own smart contracts. 

BlackRock declined to comment when reached. 

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Aislinn Keely joined The Block in the summer of 2019. She is a member of the outlet's policy team, holding down the legal beat. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV, where she reported and anchored newscasts in addition to some podcast work. Aislinn is a proud Fordham Ram and editor-in-chief emerita of its newspaper. When she isn't writing or reporting, Aislinn is running and rock climbing.