One of the United States’ largest investment banks, Morgan Stanley, has reportedly doubled its ownership of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) shares since April this year.
In its latest filing with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the bank revealed that its Morgan Stanley Europe Opportunity Fund, which is aimed at investing in “established and emerging” European companies and boasts a total of $371 million in assets, owned 58,116 shares of the GBTC as of 31 July.
The price of GBTC, at press time, was $34.18, leading to the bank’s total BTC exposure amounting to over $2 million. In its 27 September filing, Morgan Stanley reported that the shares cost $2.4 million. Earlier this year, the fund reported holding 28,289 shares, worth roughly $1.3 million at the time.
While the European Fund’s exposure to crypto might have increased, the investment bank has other sizeable numbers of GBTC across multiple institutional portfolios too.
The Morgan Stanley Insight Fund is the most prominent of these, reportedly holding the largest amount at 928,051 shares. This amounted to over $31.7 million, at the time of writing.
The $4 trillion asset manager has been steadily increasing its foray into crypto throughout the current year. Back in April, the bank had announced the addition of Bitcoin exposure to 12 of its institutional funds through Grayscale and cash-settled Futures. Between them, these funds currently hold approximately 6.5 million GBTC shares.
JP Morgan is one of the leading institutional banks to meet client demand for BTC exposure, while also being the second-largest holder of GBTC shares. However, Cathie Wood’s ARK investment continues to remain in the first position, with the firm reporting the purchase of more than 450,000 GBTC shares in two separate buys in July.
This had pushed total GBTC ownership by Ark Invest and its institutional funds to more than 8.3 million shares, accounting for 0.69% of its total portfolio.
Other major financial institutions with significant holdings include JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and BlackRock. These significant investments by America’s leading banks are only an indication of rising institutional demand for Bitcoin and crypto. What’s more, GBTC is widely being chosen as the primary spot for institutions to park their crypto-money.
To take it up a notch, the firm recently announced that it is “100% committed to converting GBTC into an ETF.” The much-awaited Bitcoin ETF is speculated to bring in institutional demand and inflows to exponential levels.
As Grayscale was the first American company to launch a publicly traded Bitcoin fund and the only one to convert a Bitcoin fund into an SEC-reporting company, it might just have a great shot at realizing its ETF dream when the time comes.