BlackRock goes deeper into crypto at a critical time for the space

Almost weekend! Dan De Francesco in NYC, and we have a new dinosaur species!

Today we have stories about a startup helping you build your credit with rent payments, Wall Street re-entering the home buying frenzy, and how to avoid late night snacking.

But first, a crypto conundrum.

J2r/iStock photo; Andrii Shyp/Getty Images; Arif Qazi / Insider; Arif Qazi / Insider

1. Crypto’s critical moment.

Ready or not, Wall Street has arrived for crypto.

In case you missed it, BlackRock recently filed with regulators to launch an exchange-traded fund that tracks bitcoin’s price.

On paper, this looks like a huge win for the crypto community. The industry has been dealing with bankruptcies and scandals for over a year. Getting buy-in from the world’s largest asset manager should be considered a win. After all, recognition by the Wall Street elite was what many crypto enthusiasts were striving for. Right?

Well, not quite.

As Insider’s Rebecca Ungarino reports, the ink on BlackRock’s application is just barely drying, but some in the crypto community have already started raising red flags.

BlackRock’s bitcoin ETF application is not a fly-by-night operation. As Rebecca and Morgan Chittum previously reported, BlackRock has steadily moved deeper into crypto over the years, with nearly a dozen executives across the company focusing on the space.

But that hasn’t stopped critics from portraying BlackRock’s application as part of a broader crypto power shift benefiting traditional finance firms. (It’s worth noting that the announcement coincides with the launch of EDX Markets, a crypto exchange backed by Wall Street royalty such as Citadel Securities, Fidelity and Charles Schwab, according to The Wall Street Journal.)

I don’t have my tinfoil hat firmly on my head, but I can understand the crypto community’s skepticism about major financial companies entering the market. I have always believed that crypto in its current form cannot fully exist within the confines of the US financial system.

It’s not just the core elements of crypto – anonymity and decentralization – that make financial companies sick. Wall Street is not concerned with supporting causes that could bankrupt the company.

Contrary to what executives would publicly say, financial firms play for money. It’s not, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Are, “Blet the boats sail.”

Did you really think financial institutions would just sit on the sidelines and let their business models disrupt? Of course not. By partnering with traditional financial firms, crypto companies are leaving the fox in the chicken coop.

Learn more about how BlackRock’s bitcoin ETF filing pushes the conspiracy theories forward.

In other news:


2. JPMorgan looks to a banking veteran as part of its AI strategy. Teresa Heitsenrether, who has been with JPMorgan for more than 30 years, was chosen to lead a new data and analytics team that will play a key role in the bank’s breakthrough into AI, according to Bloomberg. Here’s a rundown of the six JPMorgan executives leading the new unit. And for more information on how the largest US banks organize their AI teams, click here.

3. This startup wants rent payments to mean something. Boom helps people build credit by reporting their rent payments to credit bureaus. Check out the deck that helped it raise a $4.5 million seed round.

4. We’re looking for impressive young people on Wall Street. We are now accepting nominations for our annual Wall Street rising star list. We are looking for the best people in investment banking, investing and selling and trading who are 35 years old or younger. Learn more about how to submit someone for consideration here. And check out last year’s list here.

5. Wall Street is preparing to go house hunting again. As the tide begins to turn in the housing market, players in the $4 trillion single-family rental market are ready to dive back in. This is what it means for the rest of us.

6. Netflix recommends some M&A. The streaming giant is looking to close more deals as it continues to expand its subscriber base and build new franchises such as gaming. Here’s who’s in charge of Netflix’s M&A and what the company might buy next.

7. JPMorgan hits back at the US Virgin Islands over Jeffrey Epstein allegations. The bank claimed Epstein received more than $300 million in tax breaks from the area, among other benefits, in a recent filing, per Reuters.

8. Big companies to bet your career on. An employer ratings site just released its annual ranking of major companies offering the best career growth. Check out the 25 companies that give you the tools to be your own boss.

9. I looked at my kingdom. I was finally there. To sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air. A Bel-Air mansion owned by billionaire investor Gary Winnick is aiming to set the record for the most expensive home in the US with an asking price of $250 million, The Wall Street Journal reports. Take a look around the 40,000 square foot estate.

10. Cut out the late-night snacks. Tips from a dietitian to avoid those nightly trips to the fridge. More here.

Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email, tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Kaja Whitehouse in New York and Nathan Rennolds (tweet @ncrennolds) in London.

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