The most popular fund for investing in Bitcoin without buying the cryptocurrency itself is under heat from a top investor.
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust
(ticker: GBTC), an ETF-like security that has drawn more than $34 billion in assets, now trades at a discount to the underlying Bitcoin it holds. Marlton LLC, a family office that owns a substantial amount of GBTC, sent an open letter to Grayscale’s board of directors calling for the company to conduct a tender offer that would allow current shareholders to sell at a premium to current market prices.
Marlton didn’t say how many shares it holds, but a spokesperson said that it would be on the list of the top 23 holders on Bloomberg if its filings were public.
The Grayscale trust, created in 2013, took off as the most direct way for investors to get Bitcoin exposure into their traditional portfolios. It remains popular, but because it is structured like a closed-end fund, the net asset value of its underlying Bitcoin can differ from the price of the security.
Grayscale has historically traded at a significant premium to the net asset value. That switched several weeks ago, and it has been trading at a significant discount—as large as 14%—since then. That is likely because competitors have begun to launch rival products, and there are now Bitcoin ETFs, including two in Canada.
The U.S. may also get a Bitcoin ETF later this year, some market participants are predicting, though regulators have yet to approve any.
Grayscale is looking to convert GBTC into an ETF, a move that would presumably eliminate the discount. But Marlton wants faster action, calling the ETF move a “wait and see” option that may fail. That is why the firm wants a tender offer.
“A tender offer is a superior value creating initiative, offering stockholders the ability to sell their shares for a specified price and within a particular window of time for an offered price at a premium to the market price and contingent upon a minimum or a maximum number of shares sold,” the letter says.
Grayscale responded to the letter by reiterating its plans for an ETF.
“We are 100% committed to converting GBTC into an ETF, on which more details can be found in a blog we shared yesterday,” the company said in a statement.
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