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Index publisher MSCI looking at launch of crypto indexes

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A representation of the virtual cryptocurrency Bitcoin is seen in this picture illustration taken June 14, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su/Illustration

June 16 (Reuters) - Global securities index publisher MSCI (MSCI.N) is looking at launching indexes for cryptocurrency assets, according to Chief Executive Henry Fernandez, in what would be another step towards mainstream acceptance for digital currencies and the companies trading in them.

Fernandez, speaking at a Clubhouse event organized by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz earlier this week, said MSCI has been talking to experts and is aiming to launch crypto indexes.

He gave no details on what assets any index would focus on nor any timeline for their introduction and MSCI later declined a Reuters request to elaborate on his comments.

Companies including Bank of New York Mellon Corp (BK.N), Mastercard (MA.N), Visa (V.N) and Goldman Sachs have taken small steps towards supporting cryptocurrencies but they are still little used in day-to-day life.

In May, the S&P Dow Jones Indices unveiled new cryptocurrency indexes, bringing bitcoin and ethereum to the trading floors of Wall Street. The new indexes, S&P Bitcoin Index, S&P Ethereum Index and S&P Crypto Mega Cap Index, will measure the performance of digital assets tied to them.

Crypto exchange Coinbase Global (COIN.O), of which Andreessen Horowitz is the biggest shareholder, also successfully listed on the tech-heavy NASDAQ in April, as bitcoin hit a record peak.

MSCI has been looking to expand its offerings, with Fernandez saying on Clubhouse the areas of private credit and environmental, social and governance (ESG) held opportunities for the company.

In April, the company launched 20 thematic indexes to help investors bet on "megatrends" in China that are aligned with the Chinese government's policy goals.

The company publishes popular indexes for global equities and other securities, used by asset managers and investors to guide the allocation of $14.5 trillion in assets globally as of the end of 2020.

Inclusion in its indexes tends to open the door to more funds investing in the asset in question.

Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru and Sujata Rao in London; additional reporting by Tom Wilson, editing by Patrick Graham and Anil D'Silva

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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