Will Vanguard’s Pro-Crypto CEO Break Its “No Bitcoin” Hold?

Crypto investors hold hope that Vanguard’s new CEO Salim Ramji will override the firm’s anti-Bitcoin position.

Samil Ramji holding a Bitcoin to the shock of the crowd in the background.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • Vanguard has maintained an anti-Bitcoin policy.
  • The appointment of a new CEO gives hope of a reversal in policy.
  • New CEO Salim Ramji has signaled a pro-Bitcoin stance in the past.

US spot Bitcoin ETFs went live in January, fostering massive hype as crypto products were now available via the stock market. Against the tide of enthusiasm, Vanguard’s former CEO Tim Buckley held firm, stating Bitcoin did not belong in “a well-balanced, long-term investment portfolio.” The crypto community warned that the company risked falling behind more open-minded investment firms. 

Buckley’s abrupt retirement in late February fueled speculation that Vanguard’s board was seeking fresh leadership more in tune with the changing times. Those whispers grew louder on Tuesday following the appointment of former BlackRock executive Salim Ramji, who managed BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF application.

Is Vanguard About to Turn?

Vanguard announced on Tuesday that Salim Ramji would be succeeding Buckley as CEO, stirring hope of a U-turn on the company’s Bitcoin policy. Ramji, who previously headed BlackRock’s ETF division and oversaw the launch of its spot Bitcoin ETF, is regarded as a crypto proponent

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In his first public remarks since the appointment, Ramji spoke broadly about the “changing investing landscape,” presenting Vanguard with opportunities to serve customers better. “My focus will be to mobilize Vanguard to meet the moment while staying true to that core purpose,” he stated. However, Ramji stopped short of directly addressing the Bitcoin question.

Vanguard had drawn heavy criticism from the crypto community over its refusal to offer Bitcoin products, with some investors even threatening to close retirement accounts over the company’s position. At the time, former Inside Bitcoin host Neil Jacobs blasted the move as a “Terrible business decision by Vanguard.” The pushback highlighted how the investment giant risked alienating a rapidly growing base of crypto-friendly clients.

Commenting on Ramji’s new appointment, Bloomberg analyst Eric Balchunas noted that the move was unexpected, given that Vanguard typically promotes CEOs from within the company. On whether Ramji’s appointment would bring an end to Vanguard’s anti-Bitcoin stance, Balchunas stated that he isn’t 100% convinced that would be the case, even despite having publicly praised BTC in the past.

Salim Ramji is a Bitcoin Fan

Following submitting BlackRock’s spot BTC ETF application in June 2023, Ramji publicly praised Bitcoin during a Bloomberg interview. Ramji stated that he was “incredibly excited” about the cryptocurrency’s ability to “remove frictions across the ecosystem,” such as by making custody, trading, and settlement times more efficient.

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Ramji also framed BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF as an avenue to give investors access to markets previously obstructed by factors such as difficulty, cost, or lack of transparency. 

During his decade-long tenure at BlackRock, Ramji ended his stint as the head of iShares and index investments, where he oversaw massive growth for the company’s ETF products. 

Ramji’s past pro-Bitcoin rhetoric has stoked optimism that, under his stewardship, Vanguard may finally join the digital asset revolution.

On the Flipside

  • BlackRock’s spot BTC ETF was the fastest to reach $10 billion AUM in history.
  • Vanguard’s focus has traditionally been on low-cost, passive index funds rather than “cutting-edge” trends, making its Bitcoin hold-out an unsurprising development.

Why This Matters

The cryptocurrency world will be watching Vanguard’s next moves closely. A reversal of its Bitcoin policy would signal another domino falling on the path to mass adoption. However, whether the company will reverse course on this matter remains unclear.

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This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Samuel Wan

Samuel Wan is a finance professional turned crypto journalist, known for his insightful reporting on market trends, regulatory changes, and technological developments within the digital asset industry. His ability to simplify complex concepts and report the facts has made him a trusted source in the crypto community. Beyond his writing, Samuel is an active mountain biker and gamer.