Abrdn has become the latest asset manager to wade into the cryptocurrency market as it purchases a stake in Archax, a digital assets exchange.
Archax, which launches later this year, allows institutional investors to access blockchain-based digital assets. It is the only exchange to win approval from the Financial Conduct Authority.
Abrdn is now Archax’s largest external shareholder, with its significant holding entitling it to a seat on the board, according to the Financial Times. The £508bn fund manager has made a concerted push to enhance its digital capabilities, buying Finimize and a stake in wealthtech platform Nucoro, but this marks its first foray into the cryptocurrency space.
This year, digital coins, including mainstream favourites like Bitcoin and Ethereum, have seen their prices collapse amid the global stockmarket sell-off, driven by rising rates and fears of an economic slowdown.
Yet some of the largest global asset managers have been trying to get a toehold in the digital assets market. In the past week, Blackrock has launched a spot bitcoin private trust and partnered up with Coinbase to give institutional clients on its Aladdin platform access to the crypto exchange.
Meanwhile, Schroders has taken a “strategic minority stake” in blockchain technology and digital assets-focused asset manager Forteus.
Abrdn said its partnership with Archax will allow investors a route to access new opportunities through digital securities and would help “facilitate a shift towards greater operating efficiencies” through the adoption of blockchain technologies.
“Blockchain technologies are inevitably going to form a big part of the future of financial markets,” CEO Stephen Bird (pictured) said. “There is the potential to offer greater transparency, greater speed and less trading friction by using these nascent digital technologies.