The trading symbol for BlackRock is displayed at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on July 14, 2017. Photo: AFP

BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment firm, has “started to dabble a bit” in crypto investment.

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday, Rick Rieder, the American firm’s chief investment officer, hinted that it had already made crypto investments and said many investors were keen to find “places that appreciate under the assumption that inflation moves higher as debts are building.”

He added, “Holding some portion of what you hold in cash in things like crypto seems to make some sense to me, but I wouldn’t espouse a certain allocation or target holding. My sense is the technology has evolved and the regulations have evolved to the point where a number of people find it should be part of the portfolio.”

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The executive did not reveal what percentage of BlackRock’s assets under management may be invested in digital assets, but the company has mentioned bitcoin in two prospectus filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The filings indicate that BlackRock, which has about $8.6 trillion in assets under management, might be including bitcoin derivatives in its overall investment strategy.

This is not the first time BlackRock has indicated that it takes a positive view of crypto. Rieder said in November that bitcoin could potentially “take the place of gold to a large extent,” and his boss, CEO Larry Fink later said the leading crypto could become a major global asset.

Earlier this month, Tesla made a $1.5-billion investment in bitcoin, which some analysts say is having a ripple effect through the corporate community.

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