7 Bank Stocks Investing in Cryptocurrency
Bank stocks making big cryptocurrency investments.
Bitcoin prices are back above $45,000, and cryptocurrencies have been one of the hottest investments in the market since the beginning of 2020. Crypto bulls believe the decentralized nature of blockchain technology will allow cryptocurrencies to completely disrupt traditional financial institutions and banks over time. A new report from Blockdata found that major banks aren’t ignoring the cryptocurrency threat any longer. In fact, 55 of the 100 largest banks in the world by assets under management have already invested in crypto – either directly or by backing blockchain-oriented companies. Here are seven bank stocks that are aggressively investing in cryptocurrencies and crypto technology.
Standard Chartered Ltd. (ticker: SCBFY)
Standard Chartered is one of the largest British multinational banks and financial services companies, managing about $789 billion in assets. Blockdata estimates Standard Chartered has made a total of $380 million in blockchain investments, more than any other major bank. The bank holds Ripple Labs Inc., Cobalt, Dianrong, Metaco SA and LinkLogis Inc. In June, Standard Chartered announced a new joint venture between its SC Ventures innovation arm and BC Technology Group Co. Ltd. to launch a cryptocurrency brokerage and exchange in Europe and the U.K. Crypto bulls may want to consider buying the dip in Standard Chartered bank stock.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK)
Among U.S. banks, Blockdata estimates that Bank of New York Mellon has been the most aggressive in investing in crypto. The company is the oldest U.S. bank and specializes in asset servicing and management. It currently has about $470 billion in assets under management. BNY Mellon has made blockchain investments totaling an estimated $321 million. The bank’s investments include projects such as Fireblocks, HQLAx, R3 and Fnality International. Back in February, BNY Mellon also announced it would begin financing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, setting the stage for cryptocurrency integration into its custodian bank network.
Citigroup Inc. (C)
Citigroup is one of the largest U.S. banks and has roughly $2.26 trillion in assets under management. The bank has invested an estimated $279 million in at least 14 different cryptocurrency projects including BUCK, Chain, SETL, Axoni, Cobalt, Digital Asset, HQLAx, R3, Komgo and Symbiont. In June, Citi launched Digital Assets Group, a new unit within its wealth management division. The new division will reportedly help Citi clients invest in cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and nonfungible tokens. In May, Citi’s global head of foreign exchange told the Financial Times that the bank is considering cryptocurrency trading, custody and financing.
UBS Group AG (UBS)
UBS is a Swiss investment bank with $1.13 trillion in assets under management. The company has also made cryptocurrency investments totaling an estimated $266 million. Those investments include Axoni, R3, Fnality International and ConsenSys. In July, the UBS global wealth management team warned investors to “stay clear” of cryptocurrencies, urging investors to build portfolios around less risky assets. UBS CEO Ralph Hamers said clients are experiencing cryptocurrency “FOMO,” or fear of missing out. At the same time, Bloomberg reported in May that UBS is also exploring ways to offer digital currency investments to its wealthiest clients.
BNP Paribas ADR (BNPQY)
The France-based BNP Paribas is the largest French banking group and has roughly $3.08 trillion in assets under management. BNP has already made at least nine cryptocurrency investments, including Digital Asset, HQLAx, METRON, R3, TradelX, Komgo and Token. Those investments total an estimated $236 million. In March, BNP Global Chief Investment Officer Edmund Shing detailed a number of reasons Bitcoin is both an attractive and an extremely risky investment. He said Bitcoin has had “impressive price appreciation” since its creation, but it’s extremely volatile and the market is dominated by relatively few anonymous Bitcoin “whales.”
Morgan Stanley (MS)
Morgan Stanley is one of the largest U.S. investment banks and has about $1.12 trillion in client assets. Morgan Stanley has only made three major cryptocurrency investments in NYDIG, R3 and Securitize, but those investments total an estimated $234 million. In March, Morgan Stanley became the first major U.S. investment bank to offer wealthy clients access to Bitcoin investment funds. The access is initially restricted to clients with at least $2 million in assets and “an aggressive risk tolerance.” Morgan Stanley is also limiting Bitcoin investments to a maximum of 2.5% of client net worth.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)
JPMorgan Chase is the largest U.S. bank and has $3.39 trillion in assets under management. Blockdata estimates that JPMorgan has made a total of $206 million in cryptocurrency investments. The bank’s investments include Axoni, ConsenSys, Digital Asset, R3 and HQLAx. Back in 2017, influential JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin a “fraud” and said “it won’t end well.” In recent months, however, JPMorgan has rolled out client access to six cryptocurrency funds, including funds offered by Grayscale Investments LLC. In May, Dimon said he still isn’t a Bitcoin bull, but added, “I don’t tell clients what to do.”