WisdomTree, an asset manager specializing in exchange-traded funds, is vying to become one of the first established U.S. financial firms to offer clients digital assets, including a so-called stablecoin whose value is closely linked to the U.S. dollar.
New York-based WisdomTree, which oversees about $63 billion, views cryptocurrencies and digital assets as a natural extension of its business in exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, according to corporate-strategy director William Peck. ETFs trade like stocks on exchanges but allow investors to allocate money to traditional financial assets ranging from high-dividend companies to bonds and emerging-market currencies.
According to Peck, a regulated WisdomTree stablecoin could look similar in structure and purpose to an ETF backed by dollar-denominated assets like short-term U.S. Treasury bonds. But it could appeal to crypto traders since it would theoretically move easily on networks powered by blockchain, the computer-programming technology underpinning cryptocurrencies.
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“We absolutely see a market within the existing crypto-native community, transacting digital assets today,” Peck said. “Longer term, this is positioning us to be a leader” in fast-evolving crypto markets.
The revelation that WisdomTree was looking into creating a stablecoin follows the announcement last week that it was the lead investor in a new $17.65 million funding round for the startup company Securrency, which specializes in tools designed to assure regulatory compliance on blockchain systems.
Late last year, WisdomTree launched an exchange-traded product, on a Swiss stock exchange, designed to provide investors with exposure to bitcoin.
A stablecoin from a regulated money manager like WisdomTree might receive a warmer reception from U.S. authorities who last year largely panned a proposal from the social network Facebook to launch a to...