July 12, 2024

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Franklin Templeton’s Jenny Johnson on Bitcoin ETFs, investing in crypto, and how her firm is harnessing the blockchain

2 min read

At the Fortune Global Forum Nov. 27–29 in Abu Dhabi, I had a chance to talk with Jenny Johnson, the president and CEO of Franklin Templeton, which has grown from a small brokerage founded in 1947 to a global giant that now manages over $1.3 trillion.

Among the top financial firms, Franklin Templeton has been at the forefront of exploring blockchain technology. In 2021, it launched the first U.S.-registered mutual fund to use a public blockchain to process and record transactions, as well as crypto-focused separately managed accounts, or SMAs. And in September, the firm filed an application for a Bitcoin ETF.

In our conversation, Johnson discusses a variety of topics, including the role blockchain will play in her firm’s long-term success and how it will help democratize markets.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Franklin Templeton has been actively exploring blockchain technology, recently filing an application for its Franklin Bitcoin ETF. Could you elaborate a bit on how blockchain fits into your long-term strategy?

I think it’s important that we differentiate Bitcoin and blockchain. I think that there’s a demand for Bitcoin. It has its own use case, and that’s why you’re seeing these ETFs. What gets me more excited, as I think about the future, you look at blockchain technology, and it’s going to enable access to things like private markets. It’s going to enable the democratization of private markets. Well, why does it do that? This is because the technology takes out the frictional costs associated with processing transactions. And if you can reduce the friction in transactions, then you can more easily securitize or fractionalize ownership of things that would have been operationally too difficult to consider. Instead, you’re able to create and transfer ownership of these hard-to-process assets much easier.

It’s going to unlock nontraditional, non-correlated types of asset classes that are going…

Anna Tutova

2023-12-02 07:00:00

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