Morgan Stanley May Bet on Bitcoin in $150 Billion Investment Arm

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A $150 billion Morgan Stanley investing arm known for its prowess in picking growth stocks is considering adding Bitcoin to its list of possible bets.

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Counterpoint Global, a unit of Morgan Stanley Investment Management that’s racked up wins in mutual-fund rankings, is exploring whether the cryptocurrency would be a suitable option for its investors, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Moving ahead with investments would require approval by the firm and regulators.

Morgan Stanley’s affirmation would put the heft of an almost-century-old marquee Wall Street name behind a volatile asset class that’s still struggling to win acceptance in much of the traditional financial industry. But a four-fold jump in four months has stoked customers’ interest, making the digital asset even harder to ignore.

As of Sunday morning in New York, Bitcoin was within 2% of crossing $50,000, a milestone that seemed highly improbable when it was trading for cents for several years after its debut more than a decade ago.

After catching the attention of hedge fund moguls including Alan Howard and Paul Tudor Jones, cryptocurrencies have recently made headway with more mainstay firms such as Mastercard Inc. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Just this week, Tesla Inc, the leading maker of electric cars, also got behind Bitcoin with a $1.5 billion investment and plans to start accepting the cryptocurrency as payment.

A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley declined to comment. The review could ultimately result in Morgan Stanley opting to stay away from Bitcoin. Previous rallies in the cryptocurrency have also attracted flurries of Wall Street interest only to fizzle.

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