FirstFT: Asset managers’ big crypto bet

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Good morning. Big-name money managers are stampeding into digital assets, discovering ways to monetise investor interest even as trading volumes and prices for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have slumped.

FTSE 100-listed Abrdn this week became the latest investment house to take the plunge, buying a stake in regulated UK digital assets exchange Archax.

The stake will allow the £508bn-in-assets fund manager a board seat. It represents a bet that Archax’s technology will underpin how funds, shares and other securities trade in the future.

Abrdn’s investment, which has not been previously reported, comes as BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, has not only announced plans for a spot bitcoin trust for institutional investors but also agreed to link its Aladdin technology platform to the Coinbase crypto exchange.

The latter move should ease the way for the 82,000 investment professionals that use Aladdin to offer clients access to bitcoin.

Charles Schwab, the US broker and investments group, last week launched an exchange-traded fund aimed at giving investors exposure to crypto without actually buying the currencies. UK asset manager Schroders, meanwhile, bought a stake in digital assets manager Forteus in July.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Have a great weekend. — Jennifer

1. US justice department moves to unseal warrant for search of Trump residence US attorney-general Merrick Garland said the justice department had moved to unseal the search warrant and the list of items retrieved by the FBI from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday, breaking days of silence on the extraordinary operation.

How well did you keep up with the news this week? Take our quiz.

2. TikTok employees complain of ‘kill list’ The viral video app company, owned by China’s ByteDance, created what staff have called a “kill list” of colleagues that it wanted to force out of its London office, in a move that some said created a working culture of fear.

3. British energy bills to soar above £5,000 Households face average annual energy bills of above £5,000 next year, according to the latest forecast from consultancy Auxilione, heaping further pressure on the government to intervene to ease the spiralling cost of living crisis.

  • Opinion: Some will complain that government intervention on energy prices is un-Tory, but the alternative is unpalatable, writes Sebastian Payne.

4. IEA: sanctions have had ‘limited impact’ on Russian oil output Moscow’s exports of crude to Europe, the US, Japan and South Korea have fallen by almost 2.2mn barrels a day since its invasion of Ukraine, the International Energy Agency said. But the rerouting of flows to countries including India, China and Turkey has mitigated financial losses.

5. Bank of England warns Truss and Sunak over City regulation plans BoE governor Andrew Bailey has sent a strong warning to the UK’s next prime minister not to interfere politically in the regulation of the City of London, saying it would hit the country’s competitiveness.

The days ahead

Economic data Monthly industrial production figures for the EU are due, as are France’s final consumer price index data for July, which will give an insight into the extent of rising prices and energy costs. Russia and the UK are set to release their gross domestic product estimates.

CPI graphic

Inflation Reduction Act The bill is set to be passed in the US House of Representatives, before being signed into law by President Joe Biden.

UK train drivers strike The Aslef trade union will shut down large parts of the rail network when it stages its second one-day strike tomorrow at nine of the country’s train operating companies, including Avanti, in a dispute over pay.

Join us in person or online for the FTWeekend Festival on Saturday, September 3, and enjoy a day of debates, tastings, performances and more. Hear from speakers including Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, MP and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, Ukrainian chef Olia Hercules and psychotherapist Esther Perel. Claim £20 off your festival pass using promo code FTWFxNewsletters.

What else we’re reading and listening to

Afghanistan’s women speak Since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in August last year, women across the country have had to find ways to cope with their lives being turned upside down. They have used an app to share their thoughts, fears and dreams. Read their messages here.

“Although it is daylight, darkness has spread. For girls and women it is like 20 years ago” — Nargis, August 16, 2021, 02:09.

A girl in Kabul reads a book beside a window
The Taliban said they would defend women’s rights ‘within the framework of Islamic law’, but analysts and diplomats remain deeply sceptical

German industry in a sweat Following an unusually dry winter, a parched spring and a sweltering summer, water levels on the Rhine river have fallen to a record low — well below the 80cm required for fully loaded barges to pass through safely. As a result, container ships are carrying a fraction of their usual cargo, leading to higher transportation costs and severe delays.

Whatever happened to Mandela’s dream In the latest Rachman Review podcast, Gideon Rachman talks to South African writer and political activist Songezo Zibi about the need to build a coalition for change to restore some of the hopes that accompanied the end of apartheid.

Russia’s diplomats are reduced to propagandists Once regarded as a sophisticated elite, foreign ministry officials are now using extreme language to prove their loyalty to the Kremlin. Their statements are increasingly targeted not at external audiences, but at the domestic one, writes Alexander Baunov, a former Russian diplomat.

My handwriting is terrible. Should I be worried? Years of typing and texting have taken their toll on Pilita Clark. “My words jerked across the page like the trails of a snail dunked in crystal meth,” she says. This could be important — studies show we learn more when we write by hand.


A swimming kit is no longer something to just rent and return while on holiday. Grace Cook looks at the hottest swimwear — influenced by cold-water sport.

Mara Hoffman Reese printed recycled swimsuit, Bondi Born Tatum stretch swimsuit and Ganni Logo-embossed vegan leather platform slides
Mara Hoffman Reese printed recycled swimsuit, £275; Bondi Born Tatum stretch swimsuit, £260; Ganni Logo-embossed vegan leather platform slides, £175, all at © Vivianne Sassen

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