The crypto bet of asset managers.

Prominent money managers are moving into digital assets, finding new ways to monetize investor interest even as trading volumes and prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have collapsed.

FTSE 100-listed Abrdn this week became the latest investment house to take the plunge, buying a stake in regulated UK digital asset exchange Archax. The stake will give the £508bn asset manager a seat on the board and is a bet that Archax’s technology will underpin the way funds, shares and other securities are traded in the future.

Abrdn’s investment comes as BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, not only has plans for a spot bitcoin trust for institutional investors, but has also agreed to link its Aladdin technology platform with crypto exchange Coinbase. The latest move should ease the way for the 82,000 investment professionals who use Aladdin to offer clients access to Bitcoin. Meanwhile, Charles Schwab, the US brokerage and investment group, last week launched an exchange-traded fund aimed at giving investors exposure to crypto without actually buying the currencies.

UK asset manager Schroders bought a stake in digital asset manager Forteus in July.
Although Fidelity has offered digital asset custody services for nearly five years and in April added a bitcoin option to its retirement offerings , this summer’s activities signal a wider adoption of digital assets, market analysts said.

The new digital offerings come after digital assets suffered a brutal market selloff that reduced the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies from around $3.2 trillion in November to less than $1 trillion.

Earlier this week, Abrdn reported a first-half loss of £320m as customer outflows reduced its assets under management and administration.

 Dealer Anatoliy Pavlov

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