A mandatory SEC filing dated June 30, 2021 shows that Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager with $9 trillion in assets, has taken significant stakes in two bitcoin miners, 6.71% in Marathon Digital Holdings and 6.61% in Riot Blockchain.
The total capital commitment amounts to $382,962,003.08 million between both miners. Among Blackrock’s hundreds of mutual funds and ETFs, broad indexes like its iShares Russell 2000 ETF, and its iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector own the crypto miner shares.
The disclosure comes after Fidelity Group recently revealed that it had taken similarly large stakes in the bitcoin miners. Valley Forge, PA-based Vanguard Group is currently the largest shareholder in Marathon Digital and Riot Blockchain with BlackRock leading behind after the disclosure of the recent filing.
Blackrock’s disclosure is part of a larger trend of traditional financial institutions and investors ramping up their exposure to crypto through traditional equity.
BlackRock’s first foray into the crypto market was in 2019 when it hired Robert Mitchnick, former Product Marketer for Ripple, who is now the head of distributed ledger technology and digital assets at BlackRock.
In January, BlackRock also filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commision to include cash-settled bitcoin futures as eligible investments for two of its funds, the BlackRock Global Allocation Fund and the BlackRock Strategic Income
Later in April, the firm revealed through an SEC filing that the BlackRock Global Allocation Fund held 37 futures contracts with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange group which matched the January SEC filings BlackRock made for cash-settled bitcoin futures for two of its funds.
Both Marathon and Riot have seen their shares rise and fall with the price of bitcoin, which reached an all time high of over $60,000 in April . Marathon has seen its stock climb 754% in the past 12 months and Riot’s has risen 848% compared to a 288% increase in the price of bitcoin over the same period. BlackRock owns $206,791,012.04 worth of Marathon and $176,170,991.04 worth of Riot.
Earlier this summer China announced a ban on bitcoin miners. Some expect U.S. based companies like Marathon, based in Las Vegas, Nevada and Riot, based near Denver, Colorado to benefit.