KEY POINTS
  • BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said ETFs are "step one in the technological revolution in the financial markets" on CNBC's "Squawk Box." Step two is tokenization.
  • Tokenization of real world assets such as gold has gained popularity among financial institutions who are cautious on crypto assets but keen on the underlying blockchain technology.
  • Fink said he "sees value" in an ether ETF but that it's a mere stepping stone to tokenization.

In this article

Bitcoin exchange-traded funds have arrived after a hard-fought battle between the crypto industry and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock — the biggest asset manager in the world — thinks it's just the first step toward a new financial world.

ETFs were seen as a way to give investors exposure to a young and risky asset class. But the value blockchain technology provider goes beyond bitcoin, and the new ETFs are just a precursor to broader tokenization of other assets, Fink told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday.

"ETFs are step one in the technological revolution in the financial markets," he said. "Step two is going to be the tokenization of every financial asset."

Before BlackRock filed its application for a bitcoin ETF in June and created a groundswell of optimism that such a fund could become a reality, tokenization of real world assets such as gold had been revived as a hot topic among financial institutions, who claimed this would give institutions the ability to provide more information and data to clients about their investments.

Some see bitcoin as the beginning of a bigger push by crypto into the legacy financial system. After the approval of bitcoin ETFs, investors are looking forward to the first deadline for the SEC to approve or deny spot ether ETFs, which is scheduled for May.

Fink appeared more focused on the deployment of blockchain technology to upgrade existing systems. Although some financial heavy hitters such as BlackRock have warmed to bitcoin over the years and the idea of offering bitcoin exposure to clients, there's a big crypto world beyond bitcoin that many will continue to remain cautious on, at least publicly.

"I see value in having an ETH ETF," he said. "As I said, these are just start stepping stones toward tokenization."

"We have the technology to tokenize today," he added. "If you had a tokenized security … the moment you buy or sell an instrument, it's known it's on a general ledger that is all created together. … This eliminates all corruption, having a tokenized system."

Don't miss these stories from CNBC PRO:

In this article