Bitcoin and Blockchain Aren’t Investible Yet, Canada Pension Says

  • CPPIB has 100 people watching the space carefully, Machin says
  • Machin says in speech that Blockchain technology is sound
BOC's Wilkins Says Cryptocurrencies Aren't Currencies

Mark Machin, the head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, said he doesn’t think the bitcoin and blockchain space is “investible” yet, but the country’s largest pension fund is monitoring it with interest.

"We’re watching it,” Machin said in a speech Monday. “I don’t think it’s institutionally investible yet. It’s really early days and there’s going to be lots of disruption." He said CPPIB has more than 100 people at its offices in Toronto watching the space carefully.

Most investors are in agreement that the technology behind blockchain is sound and is more valuable for institutions that carry out lots of little transactions, said Machin, chief executive officer of the pension fund. They are more divided on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, he said.

"The currencies themselves, I’d say it’s still early days to figure out whether this is truly institutionally investible and whether they really are liquid gold," he said. "It’s worth paying serious attention to it."
 
He said his views were more aligned with Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., than with Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. when it comes to bitcoin and blockchain. Dimon has famously called bitcoin a “fraud” while Blankfein said he is not ready to dismiss the digital currency yet.

The prospect of blockchain technology remaking financial services just moved a step closer to reality after banks including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase completed a successful six-month test in the $2.8 trillion equity swaps market.

The program, managed by blockchain startup Axoni, kept track of the swaps contracts after they were executed, recording things like amendments or termination of the deals, stock splits and dividends, and achieved a “100 percent success rate,” Axoni said in a statement Monday. Other participants included Machin’s Canada Pension Plan and Citigroup Inc.

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