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BlackRock continues to delve into crypto with Metaverse ETF

BlackRock, the world’s largest wealth manager with nearly $10 trillion in assets under management, will launch a new Metaverse ETF to help investors make money safely on the booming immersive version of the internet.

BlackRock

BlackRock’s iShares Future Metaverse Tech and Communications ETF will give investors exposure to Metaverse-focused companies, according to Thursday’s filing. This can include companies with connections to social media, virtual platforms, digital assets, gaming, augmented reality and much more.

The metaverse, which combines technologies such as virtual reality and NFTs, has become a focal point for issuers of exchange-traded products. Recently, Swiss-based crypto exchange-traded issuer 21Shares and US competitor ProShares launched their own Metaverse ETFs.

Despite a sharp slowdown in the metaverse, some industry surveys estimate that the total addressable market will be between $8 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030.

BlackRock increased its exposure to the digital assets space throughout 2022. Just yesterday, the New York-based financial conglomerate announced the launch of its crypto ETF in Europe, despite regulatory concerns on the continent.

The iShares Blockchain Technology UCITS ETF is listed on Euronext and consists of 35 global companies whose main business is related to blockchain, such as crypto miners and exchanges. Around 25% of the fund’s exposure goes to companies that support this technology, such as semiconductor companies.

The news comes barely a month after BlackRock signed a partnership agreement with the prime brokerage arm of popular US exchange Coinbase. However, the collaboration will be limited to Bitcoin and will provide BlackRock’s institutional clients with access to crypto trading, custody, prime brokerage and reporting on Coinbase Prime.

Clients will also be able to manage their bitcoins and perform risk analysis using BlackRock’s Aladdin software suite.

Back in April, BlackRock participated in a $400 million funding round for Boston-based fintech startup Circle. In addition to its investment and role as the primary manager of USDC cash reserves, BlackRock has partnered with Circle to explore capital markets applications for its stablecoin.

BlackRock made headlines last year when it added bitcoin futures to derivatives products that two of its funds can invest in. The development came shortly after BlackRock CEO Larry Fink offered a somewhat optimistic assessment of the world’s first cryptocurrency. In a relatively rare endorsement, Fink said bitcoin has “caught attention” and could largely replace gold, but warned its growing popularity is having a real impact on the US dollar.

Back then, Fink, who made BlackRock the world’s largest money management company, dismissed Bitcoin as nothing more than a vehicle for speculation and money laundering.

The world’s largest wealth manager launched a blockchain-focused ETF in April, giving investors access to the crypto and blockchain industries. The company has added the Blockchain and Tech ETF (IBLC) to its iShares product line.

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