Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge. When he's not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.
Morgan Stanley says that it currently holds 1 million shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust worth millions of dollars, through several funds.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) holds a large amount of shares in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), according to a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Morgan Stanley prefers this indirect investment route of BTC exposure through an investment vehicle as opposed to direct investment. The leading investment bank owns these GBTC shares, purchasing them through over 30 portfolios.
Morgan Stanley’s Insight Fund holds the biggest stake of all the company’s funds at over 928,051, worth $36 million and equivalent to 700 BTC. Other funds holding significantly large amounts of shares include the Morgan Stanley Institutional Fund Inc, the Morgan Stanley Institutional Trust, and the Morgan Stanley Variable Insurance Fund. Morgan Stanley revealed that it owned GBTC 28,298 shares worth $1.3 million in late June when the BTC price dropped. The bank held these shares through its Europe Opportunity Funds, an investment that pales in comparison to these recent filings. Morgan Stanley believes that these investments will yield capital appreciation over the long term.
Morgan Stanley is the first US-based traditional bank to offer its clients investment opportunities in Bitcoin. The multinational bank has over $4 trillion in assets under management (AUM). The megabank has grown its crypto investments considerably since its first foray into crypto a few months ago. Apart from its position in GBTC, Morgan Stanley increased its BTC exposure on other fronts in April via 12 investment vehicles. The banking giant also spearheaded a $48 million Series B funding of Securitize, a blockchain platform.
Recent Morgan Stanley Bitcoin Disclosure Forms a Larger Picture
Apart from Morgan Stanley, other leading banks are also adopting crypto investments as a viable option. Banks including JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs are atop this list. For instance, JPMorgan recently purchased large quantities of Coinbase shares and also offers a Bitcoin Fund to wealthy clients. Furthermore, Wells Fargo and BlackRock have also declared their BTC investments. The former has a private registered Bitcoin fund, while the latter has a $382 million investment in Bitcoin mining stocks. Goldman Sachs started offering Bitcoin Futures to institutional clients back in June, while Citigroup has filed with the SEC for the same.
These recent moves by traditional banks are a complete U-turn from an earlier stance where many criticized digital currencies. However, many of these banks claim an increase in client demand for crypto exposure as a reason for investing in the space.
Morgan Stanley’s recent GBTC disclosure is a strong indicator that traditional institutions are not taking crypto seriously. This recognition may cause a rise in crypto prices like at the beginning of 2021.
As of press time, BTC is trading at $48,825. In addition, it is averaging 1.1% in the daily and 9.6% in the 7-day charts, respectively. Since the start of July, the asset has gained over 45% and earlier this week, trading above $50,000. Bitcoin currently has a market cap of $899 billion and is still the number one digital currency by market cap.