What does institutional bitcoin mean? – Financial Times

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Blackrock’s chief investment officer of global fixed income told CNBC on Wednesday that the world’s largest asset manager had “started to dabble” in bitcoin.

This was all the excuse bitcoin needed to charge ahead to a new record high of $52,533.

The institutional buzz around bitcoin started when US-listed Microstrategy, a business intelligence company, revealed in August 2020 that the company had invested $250m of its excess cash in bitcoin as a hedge against the dollar.

One inadvertent consequence of the treasury management move was that Microstrategy’s shares would soon be considered a precious “listed” proxy for owning bitcoin outright, especially by those money managers bound by strict risk-controlled investing mandates that stop them dabbling in crypto.

The incident proved a gateway moment for institutional interest in bitcoin, culminating in December’s big reveal by Ruffer, the UK-based asset manager, that it too had made a primary investment worth £550m.

Bitcoin has been on a tear ever since then, propelled even higher in recent weeks by electric carmaker Tesla’s announcement that it too has been diversifying its treasury holdings into the crypto asset.

The truly big question is what does it mean for bitcoin now that institutional names are dipping their toes in the asset class and potentially bringing major money inflows with them (beyond the obvious of
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