Over the past 100 days, Grayscale has bought every third bitcoin
The Grayscale Investments cryptocurrency investment fund acquired every third bitcoin mined in the last 100 days. And in April, the fund bought 50% of all ETH mined. At the same time, despite the financial crisis and the fall of the cryptocurrency market in March, shares of Grayscale crypto funds in the first quarter of 2020 attracted record investments, which indicates a growing interest of institutional investors in the crypto industry. Why does the company need so many coins, what is its current position regarding the crypto market and what role does it play on it?
Grayscale Investors Believe in Bitcoin
Grayscale Investments, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG), owner of the famous crypto media CoinDesk. The investment fund is the largest institutional holder of bitcoin. The company's main product is the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), with which accredited investors can earn on bitcoin without actually owning it. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust tracks the price of bitcoin based on the TradeBlock XBX index.
Grayscale accumulates Bitcoin on an impressive scale. Reddit user under the nickname u/parakite noted that the fund added 60,762 BTC ($548.3 million on the day of publication) from February 7 to May 17. This is a third of the total number of bitcoins mined over the past three months.
The user made a table showing how the number of bitcoins in GBTC changed:
As you can see, the procurement rate of the MTC fund has been increasing since the end of 2019. GBTC has become more aggressive in its acquisitions since early April before the upcoming halving of the Bitcoin network. About 34% of the 60,762 MTC were purchased 17 days before the reduction in remuneration to the miners.
As of May 17, GBTC under management had a total of 343 954 BTC. This is 21% more than the 283,192 BTC held by the fund 100 days earlier. In value terms, the portfolio grew from $2.77 billion to $3.37 billion.
“Grayscale is just one of many, albeit the largest, ETFs that people use to buy bitcoin, not wanting to mess around with private keys and other problems,” commented u/parakite. - There is a demand for it. The supply is declining. Let’s see where we will be in 100 days.”
88% of Grayscale customers are institutional investors. Most likely, the sharp increase in the pace of the purchase of military-technical cooperation in addition to the last halving is due to the desire of investors to hedge risks during the developing crisis.
GBTC stock price over the past year, according to Yahoo.Finance. The price of shares (shares) of GBTC does not coincide with the price of the MTC, it depends on the mood of investors and can be traded with a premium or a significant discount. Usually it follows bitcoin, but sometimes the trends diverge. So, the difference between the July and current MTC rates is 20-30%, and between the same GBTC shares it is about 70%.
Grayscale also bought half of ETH mined in April
Aggressive Grayscale crypto purchases have recently been spotted with respect to ether. So, by April 24, the company had bought about 756 539 ETNs (accurate data are not publicly available) for its Ethereum Trust fund. This is about 48.4% of all 1.5 million coins mined since the beginning of this year. As a result, the company already owns 1% of all coins in circulation and only increases the pace of purchases. The first user to notice this was Reddit under the nickname u/nootropicat.
According to the latest quarterly report by Grayscale, the flow of investments in ETN reached a record level for the first three months of 2020 - $110 million. This is a very sharp increase, given that total investments in ETN for the previous two years amounted to $95.8 million. The total demand for the Ethereum fund grew over the quarter is almost 2.5 times compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.
From the beginning of the year until the end of April, the company issued 5.23 million shares of the fund at 0.09427052 ETN apiece.
At the same time, shares are traded with a premium of 420% relative to the current price of the coin - $92 against $17.70. That is, investors are willing to pay extra pretty much not to deal with cryptocurrency on their own.
Most likely, the increase in the rate of purchase of the coin is associated with the upcoming upgrade of the network to the state of Ethereum 2.0. It can take place at the end of July, but, most likely, it will happen not earlier than the end of the year. After the upgrade, the network will become more scalable and there will be the possibility of staking - validators will be able to receive passive income for providing their funds to confirm the blocks.
The crypto market, by the way, is also preparing for the transition of the ecosystem to a new stage. ETH has grown 55% since the crash in March, from $110 to $202 on the day of publication. At the end of April, CoinDesk drew attention to the increase in the number of long positions in ETH futures - this indicates expectations for further growth of the coin.
Last quarter - the most successful in the history of the company
In May, Grayscale released a report on the results of the first quarter of this year. “Despite the decline in risky assets this quarter, Grayscale's assets continue to approach record highs, as does our share of the digital asset market,” the document says. And this despite the coronavirus pandemic, the global recession and the traditional cryptocurrency market volatility.
A record $503.7 million investment was raised in the first quarter. This is almost twice the previous quarterly maximum of $254 million in the third quarter of last year and accounts for 83% of the total capital of $1.07 billion raised for the entire 2019. New investors accounted for $160 million of raised funds. The main products of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust and Grayscale Ethereum Trust raised $388.9 million and $110 million, respectively. It is noteworthy that the company reduced the premium on stocks of funds relative to the price of assets.
88% of investments came from institutional investors, among which hedge funds prevail; 5% - from accredited individuals, 4% - from pension accounts (yes, pension funds are extremely conservative in nature, but also invest in bitcoin against the background of a decrease in the profitability of other assets); 3% came from family offices, and 38% of customers invested in several products at once.
It is noteworthy that two years ago the share of institutional investors was about 50% - it is obvious that they no longer consider bitcoin as something criminal. “Many of our investors see digital assets as medium and long-term investment opportunities and the main component of their investment portfolios. Quarterly inflows doubled to $ 503.7 million, demonstrating that demand is reaching new peak levels even in conditions of “risk reduction”, the document says.
Today, more than 46.5% of the inflow of funds was attracted from multi-strategic investors. Crypto investors accounted for only 11.2% of the inflow, according to the report. Source.
Grayscale currently operates ten cryptocurrency investment products targeted at institutional investors. They cover PTS, ETN, ETS, BCH, ZEC, XRP, LTC, ZEN, XLM. The value of the assets under his management is more than $3.8 billion. GBTC is the most demanded product, most investors invest in it and it takes about 1.7% of the total volume of circulating bitcoins.
Aggregate quarterly flow of funds to different Grayscale products. Pay attention to the growing share of investors diversifying portfolios with products tied to altcoins. Source.
Since January of this year, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has been registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to it, the company provides quarterly and annual reports in the form of 10-K. The status makes it possible to sell shares of a trust in the secondary market after 6 months, rather than 12, as before, and also increases the confidence of conservative investors. Other products comply with OTCQX reporting standards in the OTC market and are approved by the US Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for public offering.
Amount of assets managed by Grayscale as of May 20, 2020. Source.
It is noteworthy that the news about the success of Grayscale comes amid news of how panicky investors in traditional assets are fleeing from market turmoil. So, the largest fund managers - BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Global Advisors - lost several trillion in capitalization of their assets, and BlackRock in the first quarter for the first time in five years saw a net outflow of funds from its long-term investment products.
Bitcoin is the best asset for hedging portfolios in crisis
At the end of April, Grayscale also released a separate report on the analysis of the impact of regulators during a pandemic and the crisis caused by it and how it affected the bitcoin and cryptocurrency market as a whole.
The document said fiat currencies are at risk of devaluation as central banks print more and more money. Even the US dollar, which is the world's reserve currency, risks being devalued if the US Federal Reserve continues to print the currency in trillions. A decrease in interest rates to zero and negative values deprives government bonds of the status of "safe haven" during the crisis.
Therefore, investors are trying to diversify their portfolios with alternative instruments. Cryptocurrencies are the best choice for this, according to the authors of the report. The text emphasizes the historical significance of gold as a global standard, but it is noted that in the modern digital world it is becoming increasingly burdensome for investors - it has complex logistics. Bitcoin seems resistant to the problems that other assets face. Therefore, in times of economic uncertainty, the first cryptocurrency is one of the best assets that investors can use to hedge their portfolios. The coin performs better than any other asset, including fiat currencies, government bonds, and traditional commodities like gold. The authors of the report emphasize that Bitcoin has already begun to show signs of becoming a protective asset.
At the same time, the company believes that bitcoin is an excellent asset not only in times of crisis. So, in December 2019, Managing Director of Grayscale Investments Michael Sonnenshine said that the company expects an influx of investments in bitcoin after the transfer of $68 trillion of savings between generations in the next 25 years. Today, this capital is invested in traditional assets, but a significant part of these wealth millennials will invest in cryptocurrencies. Already, according to him, investments in GBTC are among the five most popular among young people, ahead of, for example, investments in Microsoft and Netflix.
The unprecedented financial measures taken by the US Federal Reserve, as well as the worsening recession, are forcing even the most conservative investors to rethink their current strategies and portfolio composition. Many of them are increasingly beginning to appreciate the fixed emission and non-correlation of Bitcoin - it is becoming a tool for risk diversification. Growing institutional interest is driving the acceleration of coin prices.