Morgan Stanley Invests $269 Million in Bitcoin ETF

Morgan Stanley, the sixth-largest bank in the U.S., has made a significant move in the cryptocurrency market. According to its recent SEC filing, the bank has invested over $269 million in Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) during the first quarter of 2024.

The investment was revealed in Morgan Stanley’s Form 13-F, positioning the bank as one of the largest holders of GBTC. This substantial stake places Morgan Stanley just behind Susquehanna International Group, which has invested $1.0 billion in GBTC.

Growing Interest Among Major Banks Like Morgan Stanley 

Morgan Stanley is among several Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs) investing in spot Bitcoin ETFs. Other notable banks include Royal Bank of Canada, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, and UBS.

By the first-quarter 13F reporting deadline, around 700 professional firms had invested nearly $5 billion in spot Bitcoin ETFs, according to Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan. He noted this trend represents a “historical scale of professional investor ownership,” comparing it to the launch of gold ETFs in 2004, which was a highly successful ETF launch.

Institutional and Retail Investments Grow

Despite the surge in institutional investments, retail investors also play a significant role. The total assets under management (AUM) in spot Bitcoin ETFs have reached approximately $50 billion.

Several other firms have also disclosed their investments in spot Bitcoin ETFs:

  • Pine Ridge Advisers: On May 14, the New York advisory firm revealed a $205.8 million investment, split among BlackRock’s IBIT, Fidelity’s FBTC, and Bitwise’s BITB.
  • Aristeia Capital LLC: On May 15, the alternative asset manager disclosed a $163.4 million investment in IBIT.
  • Graham Capital Management: The Connecticut-based firm reported $98.8 million in IBIT and $3.8 million in FBTC.
  • Crcm LP: The hedge fund manager disclosed a $96.6 million investment in IBIT.
  • Boothbay Fund Management: The New York-based hedge fund reported a $377 million exposure to spot Bitcoin ETFs, including significant investments in IBIT, FBTC, GBTC, and BITB.
  • Fortress Investment Group LLC: The New York investment manager revealed a $53.6 million investment in IBIT.

The recent investments by Morgan Stanley and other major financial institutions highlight the growing interest and confidence in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency assets. This trend indicates a significant shift towards mainstream acceptance and institutional involvement in the crypto market.