Grayscale Holds Over 3% of Bitcoin, Sees Pension Interest
A coin representing Bitcoin cryptocurrency sits reflected on a polished surface and photographed against a backdrop image of molten gold pouring from a bucket in this arranged photograph in London, U.K. (Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg)

Grayscale Holds Over 3% of Bitcoin, Sees Pension Interest

Grayscale Investments LLC’s new chief executive officer says the world’s largest manager of digital assets expects increased interest from institutional investors such as pension funds and endowments to continue to fuel its rapid growth.

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has become a bellwether for digital asset investors after accumulating more than 3% of the total supply of the largest cryptocurrency.

“We’ve started to see participation not just from the hedge fund segment, which we’ve long seen participation from, but now it’s recently from other institutions, pensions and endowments,” Michael Sonnenshein, who was named successor to founder Barry Silbert on Thursday, said in an interview. “The sizes of allocations they are making are growing rapidly as well.”

Grayscale has 10 funds and currently manages $25 billion in assets, up from $2 billion a year ago, Sonnenshein said. The Bitcoin trust has seen the majority of the inflows amid a rally that pushed Bitcoin to $40,000 on Thursday for the first time.

Grayscale Holds Over 3% of Bitcoin, Sees Pension Interest

Grayscale is planning to double its current staff of 24 employees, to continue to invest in advertising and to introduce half a dozen new products this year, Sonnenshein said.

Grayscale’s funds operate as trusts that hold growing hoards of coins such as Bitcoin that are not redeemable by investors. Holders can sell their shares in most of the trusts in the secondary market. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust’s success may potentially be impacting Bitcoin’s supply, Sonnenshein said.

“So there is definitely an argument to be made about Grayscale and really any other vehicle that may be removing Bitcoin from circulation and putting it into a financial product inherently increasing the scarcity of an already scarce asset,” Sonnenshein said. “This is a verifiable scarce asset and so when there are mechanisms that are removing them from circulation, that’s inherently making it an even scarcer asset.”

Sonnenshein joined New York-based Grayscale in 2014, and most recently was its managing director. Prior to Grayscale, he was an associate at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and an analyst at Barclays Plc. Silbert will continue as chief executive of Grayscale parent, Digital Currency Group.

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