(Bloomberg) -- Major institutional investors are still far away from being able to participate in decentralized finance, according to an executive at BlackRock Inc. 

BlackRock has been discussing with clients the implications of decentralized finance, or DeFi, if and when regulatory hurdles are overcome, Joseph Chalom, BlackRock’s head of strategic partnerships, said Thursday at Coinbase Global Inc.’s State of Crypto Summit in partnership with the Financial Times. DeFi is a corner of the crypto space where computer codes execute trades automatically on blockchain.

But institutional adoptions, if any, will still be “many, many, many years away,” Chalom said. “Not that I’m pessimistic — I just live in a highly regulated space and so do our clients.” 

Chalom said there will be roles for companies like Coinbase which have institutional-grade wallets to potentially be a bridge between DeFi and traditional investors. 

Last week, BlackRock made a surprise filing for a US spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, spurring a flurry of similar applications from rival issuers and a rally in Bitcoin’s price. BlackRock has prior dealings with the crypto space and has partnered with Coinbase to make it easier for institutional investors to manage and trade Bitcoin. It’s also the manager of cash reserves of Circle Internet Financial’s stablecoin USD Coin. 

Chalom said tokenization and stablecoins are also two areas of focus for BlackRock. The company has been discussing with clients how well-reserved stablecoins could play a role in the movement of institutional money.

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