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Morgan Stanley increased exposure to Bitcoin, held $300M in Grayscale shares

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Investment funds from major U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley have increased their exposure to Bitcoin through purchases of shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.

According to filings from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 23, the Morgan Stanley Insight Fund increased its holdings of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, or GBTC, shares more than 63%, from 928,051 in the second quarter of 2021 to 1,520,549 as of Sept. 30. In addition, filings on the firm’s Growth Portfolio show it holding 3,642,118 GBTC shares in the third quarter of 2021, an increase of 71% when compared with 2,130,153 shares as of Q2. The Morgan Stanley Global Opportunity Portfolio held 1,463,714 GBTC, a 59% increase from 919,805 shares in three months.

At the time of publication, the price of GBTC is $45.72, making the investment bank’s exposure to Bitcoin (BTC) across these three funds roughly $303 million with 6,626,381 shares as of Sept. 30. The BTC price was under $50,000 for much of September, but the crypto asset has since reached an all-time high price of $69,000 before sliding back to the $56,000s.

The respective portfolios and funds allow Morgan Stanley to gain exposure to Bitcoin (BTC) without investing directly in the cryptocurrency. Cointelegraph reported in September that the firm’s Europe Opportunity Fund, which invests in established and emerging companies throughout Europe, more than doubled its shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust since April. However, the fund has not reported additional BTC exposure at the time of publication.

Related: Grayscale hints at plans to convert Bitcoin trust into BTC-settled ETF

Whether investing indirectly through Grayscale or by backing blockchain platforms, Morgan Stanley seems to be dipping its toes deeper into the crypto space. In September, the firm announced it would be setting up a crypto-focused research division aimed at exploring the “growing significance of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets in global markets.”