Grayscale Posts Holdings and AUM Update

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In Brief
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The famous Grayscale pod of crypto whale trusts now have $41 billion under management.

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Digital currency asset managers Grayscale tweeted an update on their holdings and net assets under management on March 26. The company now holds almost $34.7 billion worth of Bitcoin and almost $5.2 billion of Ethereum


The digital trust giant now lists 14 different vehicles, with five new funds announced on March 17. These are funds for Basic Attention Token (BAT), Chainlink (LINK), Decentraland (MANA), Livepeer (LPT), and Filecoin (FIL). The amounts of these coins under Grayscale management are small compared to the flagship trusts.The largest is the MANA holding, at $14.6 million.

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Will Grayscale Pivot?

The biggest threat to Grayscale’s market position might not be the volatility of crypto, but rather its success. Currently, there are only ways for an institutional investor to gain exposure to cryptocurrency. One is to invest in a company with BTC in its corporate treasury. MicroStrategy is a good example for companies taking this route. Even Norway’s sovereign Oil Fund has bought into MicroStrategy. 

The other way is to invest into a crypto fund such as Grayscale Bitcoin Fund. This way, instead of owning the BTC directly, the investor owns shares of the underlying asset. 

However, this is coming to an end. Institutional investors want Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), where the costs are lower and the market is bigger. Until now, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been turning down applications for Bitcoin ETFs with the claim that the market is too immature.

Enter Fidelity, Maybe

On March 24, Fidelity Investments filed with the SEC for permission to launch its own ETF. Fidelity’s ETF application is perhaps too big to ignore. First, the company is one of the largest asset managers in the world. It has $8.3 trillion under management in a variety of asset classes at this time. Even the Grayscale whale pales in comparison.

Canadian ETFs might influence SEC decision-making as well. Canadian regulators permitted the first Bitcoin ETF in North America to launch in February 2021. The Purpose Bitcoin Fund gained $400 million in two days of trading and and $800 in its first month of operation. The closest American participation in the fund comes from Gemini Fund, owned by the Winklefoss twins.  The Winklevosses, who had wanted to open their own ETF, now manage custodial operations for Purpose’s non-Canadian holdings.

Bitcoin ETFs in the US will definitely cool enthusiasm to Grayscale’s fees. Will Grayscale open its own Bitcoin ETF in response to a ‘yes’ to Fidelity from the SEC?

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James Hydzik is a finance and technology writer and editor based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He is especially interested in the development of regulation in the face of increasingly rapid technological change. He previously covered the CEE region for Financial Times banking and FDI magazines. An ardent believer in gut renovating eastern Europe one flat at a time, he currently holds more home renovation gear than crypto.

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