Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin is one disappointed hedge fund manager, reason – he ignored crypto when it mattered most, losing out on a great deal of revenue.
Speaking on Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein, the billionaire, 53, finally expressed his approval of crypto, describing it as one of the greatest stories in finance for roughly the last 15 years.
“I have been in the naysayer camp over those 15 years,” he said, “crypto markets today have a market capitalization of about 2 trillion dollars in round numbers which tells you that I haven’t been right on this call over the last 15 years.”
In a sitting with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker last year, Griffin had lambasted cryptocurrencies, referring to them as a “jihadist call” by people who were hellbent on undermining the dollar. At the time, although he says Citadel Securities, his separate market-making firm, is likely to include crypto when making markets in the coming months, he was still hesitant about the lack of regulation, calling on SEC’s Gensler to tighten the crypto regulation noose.
“I wish all this passion and energy that went into crypto was directed toward making the United States stronger,” he had gone on to say during the October sitting “What a crazy concept this is that we as a country embrace so many bright, young, talented people to come up with a replacement for our reserve currency.”
This week, Griffin’s tone seems to have changed as he noted that Citadel Securities was willing to make markets in crypto, albeit harboring personal skepticism. “There are hundreds of millions of people in this world today who disagree with that,” he said, “and so to the extent that we are trying to help institutions to solve their portfolio allocation problems, we have to give serious consideration to being a market maker in crypto. I think it would be fair to assume that over the months to come you will see us engage in making markets and cryptocurrencies.”
Citadel LLC is a Chicago-based multinational hedge fund with $35 Billion of assets under management and Citadel Securities, a separate entity, is one of the largest market makers in stocks and options. Last month, Citadel Securities sold a $1.15 billion stake to crypto-linked firms Sequoia and Paradigm, a move that it said would enable it to scale its business and broaden into other markets.