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Institutional investors aren’t rushing to add to the legitimacy of cryptocurrency. They claim Bitcoin and the alike lack the transparency, safety and regulation they want for investments (Photo by Artyom GeodakyanTASS via Getty Images)

If institutional investors must anoint cryptocurrency with their Good Housekeeping Seals of Approval to give digital tokens legitimacy, the threshold is not in sight.

Talks with trustees, asset managers and other stakeholders for nearly 20 pension funds represented in the spring meeting of the Council of Institutional Investors (CII) could not uncover institutional accounts that have sprung to put their mega dollars into Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency.

“Pension funds tend to be slow at investing in new asset classes,” said Carey Wooton, director of the IUE-CWA Pension Fund, who said she finds cryptocurrency too risky.

CII Executive Director Ken Bertsch demurred with part of the first part of what Wooton had to say, but didn’t balk at the second.

Bertsch said some institutional investors stay away from new asset classes but some don’t.

As a rule, the pension fund trade group executive said his members are avoiding Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency because digital currencies are highly speculative and fraught with fraud.

CII’s out-going Chair Theresa Whitmarsh, who serves as executive director for the Washington State Investment Board said she can’t see any of her 35 funds investing in cryptocurrency.

“There is nothing behind it other than sentiment and momentum. We like to invest in things you can touch and feel, said Whitmarsh who oversees pension funds with nearly $130 billion in assets under management.

A bit more blunt was John Marshall, senior capital markets economist for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Trust Fund: “Fund managers would have to lose their awareness of their fiduciary responsibility to invest in cryptocurrencies.”

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