American market maker Citadel Securities is poised to enter cryptocurrency markets this year.
Speaking on Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein, Citadel founder Ken Griffin commented on the current state of markets in light of recent geopolitical conflicts, stating that they are at a “very volatile inflection point.”
When the interview turned to digital assets, Griffin, who has previously warned the younger generation away from them and said “there’s no need for cryptocurrencies,” revealed that the firm would be engaging in crypto asset markets this year.
“It’s fair to assume that over the months to come, you will see us engage in making markets in cryptocurrencies.”
It’s quite the turnaround from November 2017, when Griffin said, “Bitcoin right now has many of the elements of the tulip bulb mania we saw back hundreds of years ago in Holland.” At the time, when BTC was trading around $10,000, he added, “These bubbles tend to end in tears. And I worry about how this bubble might end.”
During the Bloomberg Wealth interview, Griffin acknowledged that he was wrong to have been in the “naysayer camp” with regard to digital assets. “Crypto has been one of the great stories in finance over the course of the last 15 years,” he stated before adding:
“And I’ll be clear, I’ve been in the naysayer camp over that period of time. But the crypto market today has a market capitalization of about $2 trillion in round numbers, which tells you that I haven’t been right on this call.”
He said that he was still skeptical, but “there are hundreds and millions of people in this world today who disagree with that.”
“To the extent that we’re trying to help institutions and investors solve their portfolio allocation problems, we have to give serious consideration to being a market maker in crypto.”
Citadel Securities analyzes global markets employing a range of strategies to deliver market-leading investment returns to its capital partners. Griffin wants the firm to encompass crypto assets into these strategies over the coming months.
In January, Citadel Securities announced its first outside investment worth $1.15 billion from two prominent crypto venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Paradigm. The Citadel hedge fund currently has around $38 billion in assets under management, while the Citadel Securities market maker, a separate entity, was valued at $22 billion following the investments.
As recent as November, Griffin remained highly skeptical about cryptocurrencies, stating at the time that people are focused on new ideas and that he worried “that some of this passion is misplaced when it comes to cryptocurrencies.”
The billionaire investor did go on to all the properties of Ether (ETH), however, opining that assets based on Ethereum will eventually replace Bitcoin (BTC), which has a greater environmental impact.
Article edited to clarify that Citadel and Citadel Securities are separate entities.