BlackRock digs further into crypto with metaverse ETF

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with almost $10 trillion in AUM, is set to launch a new metaverse ETF to help investors securely monetize on the booming immersive version of the internet.


BlackRock’s iShares Future Metaverse Tech and Communications ETF will give investors exposure to metaverse-focused companies, as per the filing on Thursday. This may include companies with links 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 exchange-traded product issuers. Most recently, Switzerland-based crypto exchange-traded product issuer 21Shares and US rival ProShares have launched their own Metaverse ETFs.

Despite a major slowdown in the Metaverse space, some industry surveys estimate that the total addressable market between $8-13 trillion by 2030.

BlackRock has been increasing 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 the regulatory concerns in the continent.

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

The news comes barely a month after BlackRock had inked a partnership deal with the prime brokerage arm of US popular exchange, Coinbase. The collaboration is, however, limited to bitcoin and will allow BlackRock’s institutional clients to have access to crypto trading, custody, prime brokerage, and reporting via Coinbase Prime.

The clients will also be able to manage their bitcoin and conduct risk analysis using BlackRock’s software suite Aladdin.

Back in April, BlackRock had participated in $400 million funding round for Boston-based fintech startup Circle. In addition to its investment and role as a primary asset manager of USDC cash reserves, BlackRock has entered into a partnership with Circle to explore capital market 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 CEO of BlackRock, Larry Fink, provided a somewhat bullish take on the world’s first cryptocurrency. In a relatively rare endorsement, Fink said Bitcoin has ‘caught the attention’ and could largely replace gold but warned of its growing popularity that has a real impact on the US dollar.

Back then, Fink, who has grown BlackRock into the world’s largest money-management corporation, dismissed bitcoin as nothing more than a vehicle for speculation and money laundering.

The world’s largest asset manager launched a blockchain-focused ETF in April that provides investors with exposure to the crypto and blockchain industry. The company added the Blockchain and Tech ETF (IBLC) to its iShares product line.