Morgan Stanley buys over 28,000 shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust

Morgan Stanley, Wall Street’s mega-investment bank, has gained exposure to Bitcoin (BTC) by purchasing 28,289 shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) through its Europe Opportunity Fund, according to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. 

How did Morgan Stanley gain exposure in cryptocurrency?

Through the Morgan Stanley Europe Opportunity Fund. The fund is designed to seek maximum capital appreciation by investing in assets that “the investment team believes are undervalued at the time of purchase.” The fund allows the investment bank to invest in established and emerging companies throughout Europe. The fund invested in GBTC is to the tune of 28,298 shares as of April 30, according to a June 28 filing with the SEC.

At a current GBTC price of $29.25, Morgan Stanley’s exposure is worth approximately $828,000. The exposure was worth over $1.3 million at the end of April, according to the filing. This shows the banking giant is increasing its activity in the cryptocurrency space to meet increasing demand from its clients. 

Grayscale is by far the world’s largest crypto asset manager, with $29 billion in assets under management. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust accounts for the lion’s share of assets at over $21.7 billion. The official Twitter account of Grayscale tweeted, “06/25/21 UPDATE: Net Assets Under Management, Holdings per Share, and Market Price per Share for our Investment Products. Total AUM: $29.0 billion $BTC $BCH $ETH $ETC $ZEN $LTC $XLM $ZEC $BAT $LINK $MANA $FIL $LPT” 

What this means

Morgan Stanley has been increasingly active in the cryptocurrency market in recent months to meet growing demand from its clients. 

In March, Morgan Stanley debuted bitcoin investment fund products for high-net-worth clients and began recruiting for a cryptocurrency and blockchain lead analyst. 

In April, the firm allowed 12 of its funds to invest indirectly in bitcoin through cash-settled futures contracts and Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust. Each fund may invest up to 25% of its assets in bitcoin, according to earlier SEC filings. The Europe Opportunity Fund includes a mix of Europe-based companies in the technology and non-technology space, and other investments. 

Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley made its first capital investment into blockchain by co-leading a $48 million Series B financing round for Securitize, a Coinbase-backed tokenization platform. 

This trend shows the company is increasing its exposure and capacity in the cryptocurrency space. This report further indicates evidence of wider institutional acceptance of digital assets. It also shows demand pressure on institutional investors from their clients who are looking to get exposure in cryptocurrency.