Rick Rieder, chief investment officer at BlackRock Financial Management, is pushing back against Telsa CEO Elon Musk’s decision to drop Bitcoin as a form of payment.
In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday, Rieder said Bitcoin (BTC) had “not reached maturity yet” and still had some hurdles to overcome, like the public perception of its energy consumption and price volatility. Though he didn't specifically mention Musk’s claims that the crypto asset comes “at a great cost to the environment,” he said BTC wasn’t “a normal, stable asset” just yet.
“I think it's durable,” said Rieder, referring to Bitcoin. “I think it will be part of the investment arena for years to come, but some of these challenges and the volatility around it — regulatory dynamics, fiat currency concerns relative to crypto [...] — are real. They will be overcome over time."
"Bitcoin is an interesting asset. It is one that has not reached maturity yet," BlackRock's @RickRieder #btc #bitcoin. "I think it's durable. I think it will be part of the investment arena for years to come ... but these challenges are real. They will be overcome over time." pic.twitter.com/EentcYawQN— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) May 13, 2021
Rieder said in February that Blackrock had "started to dabble a bit" in crypto, acknowledging that investors may sometimes want to hold digital assets instead of fiat. His comments came following the multitrillion-dollar asset manager mentioning Bitcoin in two prospectus filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The filings suggest the possibility of BlackRock using Bitcoin derivatives and other assets as part of its investment scheme.
Following Musk's remarks on the environmental impact of Bitcoin, the price of the crypto asset fell to under $50,000 for the first time in weeks. At the time of publication, BTC's price is $50,590, having dropped 11% in the last 24 hours.