April 28 (Reuters) - Wealthfront will start allowing clients
to invest in cryptocurrencies later this year, the U.S. digital
wealth manager said on Wednesday, in the latest sign of growing
acceptance of digital assets by mainstream finance.
Starting this week, users will also be able to build their
own portfolio from a range of ETFs vetted by the Wealthfront
team, the company said.
The moves mark a notable shift for the Palo Alto,
California-based startup, whose investment strategy has
traditionally been more conservative and long term,
automatically allocating client assets into a set of ETF-based
Wealthfront, one of the largest digital wealth management
firms known as "robo-advisers," will also allow clients to
choose from a range of socially responsible investing options,
It did not specify which cryptocurrencies would be
Dan Carroll, Wealthfront's co-founder and chief strategy
officer, said the changes reflected a growing desire from
Millennial and Gen Z investors to make some investment choices,
as well as a broader push by financial technology startups to
provide a wider range of services within their platforms.
"Wealthfront will be the place to invest responsibly, not
some Wild West arcade," Carroll said in an interview. "We can do
it in a fiduciary way. We care what is in your best interests.
We won't let you put 100% of your portfolio in crypto."
The company, whose services are available to people in the
United States, has around 440,000 clients and assets under
management of about $25 billion, according to a spokeswoman.
Its changes come amid a boom in retail trading of stocks and
cryptocurrencies. Online platforms like stock app Robinhood and
cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc have seen
business boom over the past year, as young homebound consumers
took to buying and selling financial assets online during
The popularity of cryptocurrencies has exploded in lockstep
with a surge in the price of bitcoin, as more mainstream
financial firms ranging from PayPal Holdings Inc and
Goldman Sachs Group Inc start offering the digital asset
to clients. Bitcoin is up more than 87% since the
start of the year at $54,423.
Wealthfront portfolios will continue to be rebalanced
automatically and users will be told what impact their
investment choices have on the risk level of their portfolio,
(Reporting by Anna Irrera in London; Editing by Jane Merriman
and Will Dunham)