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Crypto: Russia-Ukraine war could accelerate use of digital currencies, BlackRock’s Larry Fink says

The Russia-Ukraine war could accelerate the use of digital currencies, Larry Fink, chairman of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, said Thursday.

Meanwhile, BlackRock is studying digital currencies, stablecoins and the underlying technologies as the firm has seen increasing interest from clients, Fink wrote in a letter to shareholders.

The conflict in eastern Europe has stirred up discussions about digital assets’ role during wartimes, as some speculated that Russians may use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions, while Ukraine has raised almost $64 million in crypto donations for its military defense

Fink noted that several governments have been playing a more active role in studying digital currencies and rolling out a regulatory framework. Earlier in March, president Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to engage in a broad review of their policies related to cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. The order focuses on the potential benefits of a central-bank issued digital currency, an issue that the Federal Reserve has been studying in depth since 2020.

“A global digital payment system, thoughtfully designed, can enhance the settlement of international transactions while reducing the risk of money laundering and corruption,” Fink wrote. Digital currencies could also lower costs of cross-border payments, Fink added. 

The asset manager has been preparing to offer a cryptocurrency trading service to its investor clients, CoinDesk reported in February citing people familiar with the matter. 

In October, Fink said in a CNBC interview that he believes that there is a “huge role for a digitized currency,” whether it is “bitcoin, or something else, or more of a government official digital currency, digital dollar.”

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