As Bitcoin continues its chaotic price action, ceaselessly falling and ascending through key levels, some paranoid traders have feared that institutional investors have been alienated from the crypto market. Yet, reports indicate that Grayscale’s growing war chest has continued to swell, while institutional players continue to express interest in crypto assets. This, of course, makes it more than palpable that institutions see immense value in cryptocurrencies, and potentially, that a market bottom is inbound.
Grayscale Owns $826 Million in Bitcoin
According to a research report released on December 3rd, from the offices of crypto analytics unit Diar, Grayscale Investments, a self-proclaimed “trusted authority on digital currency investing,” has accumulated thousands of BTC for its in-house Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC).
Since the start of 2018, Grayscale, owned by Barry Silbert brainchild Digital Currency Group (DCG), has seen its Bitcoin coffers swell by 30,600 BTC to 203,000 total, now accounting for more than 1% of the asset’s total circulating supply.
As seen in the chart above (sourced from LongHash), the wallets pertaining to Grayscale’s GBTC, a vehicle that allows retail and investors to purchase custodied BTC on the U.S. OTC market, has seen month-over-month increases. Diar wrote on the matter:
“Record inflows however have resulted in record Bitcoin equivalent holdings with December notching up a little versus the start of the previous month.”
Although GBTC’s user base also consists of retail investors, the steady rise in BTC holdings indicates that capital continues to flow into this market through trusted third parties (ironically enough), a plausible positive sign.
Institutional Players Continue Crypto Foray
Grayscale isn’t the only DCG subsidiary to see a spike in investment interest. Genesis Trading, also owned by the New York-headquartered conglomerate, recently saw its CEO, Michael Moro, take to CNBC to note that his firm’s lending service has seen an “incredibly strong reception.” This “incredibly strong reception” has seemingly taken the form of interest originating from “60+ institutional counterparties,” who have requested for cryptocurrency loans across “nearly a dozen digital assets” in the past six months. According to statistics from the firm itself, these loans amounted to a monetary value of $553 million, a jaw-dropping sum to put it lightly.
Moro added that while many of its institutional debtors have already paid their loans in full, there is still $130 million worth of active loans, a figure that has only grown of the course of the lending service’s seven-month lifetime. This indicates that the crypto market downturn hasn’t deterred these industry participants one bit, contrary to popular belief.
This continual institutional interest hasn’t gone fully unnoticed, with a number of institutions and forward-thinking crypto innovators establishing products, services, and platforms, aimed at high net-worth individuals and Wall Street. Nasdaq, for instance, recently announced that it joined hands with VanEck to work on a Bitcoin and “crypto 2.0” futures contract, aimed at institutional and retail investors alike.
Fidelity Investments, which sports the business of 13,000 institutional clients, even announced its own digital asset-centric subsidiary, slated to offer top-notch cryptocurrency custody and with trade execution.
Even Without Institutional Investment, Crypto Still Valuable
But even if institutional money doesn’t continue to flood in and the aforementioned platforms falter, as skeptics expect, Bitcoin and its altcoin brethren will still have big shoes to fill. As reported by NewsBTC last week, at BlockShow Asia 2018, Tom Lee, head of research at the crypto-friendly Fundstrat Global Advisors, claimed that Bitcoin is “bent, not broken.” The long-time cryptocurrency advocate, somewhat infamous for his irrational price predictions, added that Bitcoin’s $1.3 trillion in on-chain transaction value, reportedly 2.5 times that of PayPal, indicates that this innovation has “staying power.”
He added that there’s still “enviable profitability” in the cryptosphere, with BitMEX alone, who will likely generate $1.2 billion in fiscal 2018, making more than the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s parent and Nasdaq. This profitability factor alone should entice investors to continue to invest in cryptocurrencies and related projects.
Jackson Palmer, CEO of Dogecoin, echoed the sentiment that cryptocurrencies have and will continue to maintain inherent value, even without support from Wall Street hotshots. In an op-ed posted to Diar, Palmer, a developer at Adobe, noted that the grassroots projects, namely the Lightning Network and Plasma framework, can help “cryptocurrencies fight back” and keep the heart of the decentralized revolution burning.
Palmer wasn’t alone in his anti-centralization, pro-crypto statements, with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Marc Andreessen, one of the world’s foremost venture capitalists, and even Edward Snowden lauding cryptocurrencies for their ability to transcend traditional entities.
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