Global investment management company BlackRock is reportedly mulling a move into bitcoin.
According to a Financial News London report on Monday, the New York-based asset manager has now set up a working group to look into ways it can "take advantage" of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, as well as to monitor what rivals are doing in the space.
Citing sources close to the matter, the article says that the working group is comprised of different divisions from within BlackRock, and may be looking at the possibility of a bitcoin ETF.
Soon after the news broke, bitcoin's price rose sharply from $6,360 to $6,646 in just two hours – a gain of over $280.
The company's CEO Larry Fink confirmed to Reuters that BlackRock does indeed have a working group and that bitcoin is part of its scope for study. However, while he said, "We are a big student of blockchain," Fink added that he doesn't see "huge demand for cryptocurrencies."
Fink has made mixed comments about the cryptocurrency in the past, saying in October 2017 that he was a "big believer" in bitcoin, though he also also cautioned that it is "an index for money laundering."
Since then, in February, the firm has said it envisions a wider role for cryptocurrencies in the future, and that blockchain has promise despite some obstacles.
As reported by CoinDesk, global chief investment strategist Richard Turnill said at the time in a company report:
"We see cryptocurrencies potentially becoming more widely used in the future as the market matures. Yet for now we believe they should only be considered by those who can stomach potentially complete losses. Similarly, blockchain needs to overcome significant hurdles to reach its promising future."
According to online sources, BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager, having $6.3 trillion in assets under management, going by figures from December 2017.
Edit (13:20 UTC, July 16 2018): This article was updated to include detail from Reuters.
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