Morgan Stanley is the latest Wall Street stalwart to embrace cryptocurrency, as it becomes the first big U.S. bank to allow wealth-management clients access to bitcoin funds, CNBC first reported, citing anonymous sources. A source familiar with the matter confirmed the plan to Fast Company.
According to the report, Morgan Stanley is launching three funds that enable ownership of bitcoins. The New York-based firm currently manages more than $4 trillion in client assets, but the option to buy bitcoins will be offered first to just the richer echelon, who have at least $2 million held by the bank and an “aggressive risk tolerance” for the volatile asset. Bitcoin purchases will be limited to 2.5% of investors’ net worth, sources told CNBC.
Morgan Stanley declined to comment.
Despite the restrictions, it’s a major victory for cryptocurrency, which has been propelled into the mainstream over the past few months. As the bitcoin’s value has skyrocketed beyond $50,000, fueled by endorsements from financial influencers Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk, big-money institutions have begun to welcome digital assets, including PayPal, Mastercard, and the historic Bank of New York Mellon.
Even so, Morgan Stanley is breaking rank with its fellow big banks: It’s the first of the six largest banks—a list that includes Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Bank of America—to let customers dabble in cryptocurrency.
The move reportedly came following pressure from Morgan Stanley patrons, who demanded exposure to the surging asset class. While talking heads are split on whether cryptocurrency will last, as it continues to rise in popularity, it’s likely that more of Wall Street will be unable to ignore its ascent.