The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, appears to be warming up to crypto, and its CEO Larry Fink has indicated the Russia-Ukraine war could accelerate the use of digital assets.

Fink also confirmed that BlackRock, which has more than US$10 trillion assets under management, is exploring how to serve clients with crypto.

In a letter to BlackRock’s shareholders,’ the exec said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is likely to push countries to reassess currency dependencies, and revealed BlackRock is looking into crypto and stablecoins because of increased client interest.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink (Getty Images)

“Even before the war, several governments were looking to play a more active role in digital currencies and define the regulatory frameworks under which they operate,” said Fink, adding:

“A global digital payment system, thoughtfully designed, can enhance the settlement of international transactions while reducing the risk of money laundering and corruption.

“Digital currencies can also help bring down costs of cross-border payments, for example when expatriate workers send earnings back to their families.”

The BlackRock CEO has changed his tune significantly from assessments he made about crypto in July last year, when he said in an interview with CNBC that he wasn’t seeing much demand for digital assets.

Rumours then emerged in February that the US multinational investment giant has plans to roll out cryptocurrency trading services. And judging by the tone of Fink’s latest letter to sharedholders, those rumours look to be firming.

BlackRock, by the way, owns a large stake in the largest corporate holder of Bitcoin – Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy company – and it also has a filing for a crypto-focused exchange-traded fund (ETF) sitting in Gary Gensler’s in-tray over at the US Securities and Exchange Commission.


Also making news: Exxon Mobil’s flared gas, Bitcoin and Russia

• Energy-producing titan Exxon Mobil has reportedly been running a pilot program to use excess natural gas to power crypto-mining operations. And the US company may also be looking to expand those operations to four other other countries including Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana and Germany.

According to a Bloomberg article, the oil giant has an agreement with Crusoe Energy Systems in order to to use excess gas from oil wells in North Dakota to run Bitcoin miners on site.

The project reportedly uses up 18 million cubic feet of gas per month, which otherwise would’ve been burned off due to a lack of pipelines.


• Russia, meanwhile, is considering accepting Bitcoin as a payment option for its oil and gas exports, according to one of the country’s high-ranking energy lawmakers.

In a Thursday interview for the Russian government-owned media outlet, MIA Rossiya Segodnya, the chairman of Russia’s Energy Committee of the State Duma, Pavel Zavalny, said that Russia could start accepting Bitcoin in exchange for energy exports.

“We’ve been offering China to switch to transacting in national currencies, such as the ruble and the renminbi, for a while now,” said Zavalny. “With Turkey, that would be the lira and ruble. Currency sets can be different; it’s a common practice. If it would be necessary to trade with Bitcoin, we’d do it.”

 Zavalny also noted that the country has lost all interest in energy payments in US dollars or dollars in general – describing them as “candy wrappers.”