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Morgan Stanley exposed to 26.5 BTC via Grayscale Bitcoin Trust

The US bank has direct exposure to Bitcoin via a popular institutional holding vehicle.

Morgan Stanley exposed to 26.5 BTC via Grayscale Bitcoin Trust

A fund offered by US bank Morgan Stanley has exposure to nearly $1 million worth of Bitcoin via the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shows.

The Bitcoin push

The bank has famously flopped back-and-forth on cryptocurrencies, keeping its distance from the sector at times while branching out to provide crypto services to clients in recent times.

But one can’t ignore the price gyrations of Bitcoin for long. The bank filed with the SEC earlier this year to gain exposure to the world’s largest cryptocurrency through ‘several’ of its funds.

And the moves didn’t take long. As per the filing, the bank’s Europe Opportunity Fund—which invests in ‘established’ and ‘emerging’ companies in the region—picked up over 28,289 shares of GBTC earlier this year, gaining direct exposure to 26.5 Bitcoin, worth just over $944,000.

What’s GBTC?

GBTC, a popular institutional vehicle for trading Bitcoin, is a regulated financial product offered by Grayscale Investments, a multibillion-dollar crypto firm. 

The publicly traded product holds a small amount of Bitcoin in a custodial account for each share offered to investors, forming what is currently one of the only ways for accredited and institutional US investors to legally gain exposure to Bitcoin.

As listed on its website, each GBTC share currently holds 0.00094 BTC, amounting to just over $33 at press time. The share itself trades at $30, meaning a discounted premium charged by Grayscale (this is determined by market factors such as demand for its product).

As such, the GBTC shares account for just 0.53% of the fund’s entire holdings and is listed as a ‘long’ position in Morgan Stanley’s books (a ‘long’ refers to a position betting on higher prices in the future).

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