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Vanguard names former BlackRock crypto ETF lead as new CEO, sparking speculation of a pivot towards embracing bitcoin products after years of opposition.

Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment firms, has named a new CEO: Salim Ramji, who previously led BlackRock’s ETF business and helped launch its spot bitcoin ETF, IBIT in January.

JUST IN: Vanguard appoints Salim Ramji as a new CEO, a former Blackrock’s #Bitcoin ETF lead.

Earlier, Vanguard refused to offer BTC ETF 👀

— Bitcoin Magazine (@BitcoinMagazine) May 15, 2024

Ramji will replace Vanguard’s outgoing CEO, Tim Buckley. Buckley has been publicly critical of Bitcoin and opposed offering Bitcoin ETF products to clients.

Under Buckley’s leadership, Vanguard refused to provide its brokerage customers access to U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs that were approved by the SEC.

The appointment of Ramji, set to take effect July 8, signals a potential change in Vanguard’s stance. As head of BlackRock’s iShares division, Ramji oversaw the launch of the iShares Bitcoin Trust ETF.

Ramji has spoken positively about the technology underpinning Bitcoin and its potential to remove friction in financial markets.

His experience pioneering Bitcoin ETFs at BlackRock has many wondering if he will now push for similar offerings at Vanguard.

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According to Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, bringing in the bitcoin-friendly Ramji means the door is “much more open now” for Vanguard to embrace Bitcoin.

The company offers index funds and ETFs to both retail and institutional investors. 

As a massive player in the ETF space with over $7 trillion in global AUM, Vanguard launching a spot bitcoin ETF would be an important milestone for further mainstream adoption. 

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