Traditional asset managers’ plans are 'moment of validation,' says Grayscale boss

Quick Take

  • Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein welcomed the arrival of BlackRock and other heavyweights to the race to launch a spot bitcoin ETF.
  • The crypto outfit is currently suing the SEC over a blocked attempt to convert its signature trust into an ETF.

Grayscale Investments CEO Michael Sonnenshein welcomed the efforts of BlackRock, Fidelity and other giant asset managers to muscle in on the crypto space.

Asked on CNBC’s “Last Call” segment how he felt about BlackRock filing to launch a spot bitcoin ETF in June, Sonnenshein said, “It’s a moment of validation.”

“To see literally the largest asset manager in the world publicly commit to advancing their crypto efforts only lends validity to the asset class and the staying power that it has,” he added.

After BlackRock filed for its crypto ETF in June, several rival heavyweights of the asset management sector have followed suit, including Fidelity, Invesco and WisdomTree.

In the absence of such established companies, Grayscale has led the way in the crypto asset management to date. Its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, better known as GBTC, currently has $19.1 billion in assets under management. But the trust’s performance has lagged in recent years and today trades at a 27.5% discount to Net Asset Value, according to The Block Research’s data.

ETF conversion bid

The company run by Sonnenshein filed to convert its signature trust into an ETF last year — but was summarily rejected by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Grayscale then sued the regulator in June 2022 in an effort to force its hand.

“If we’re successful in that challenge there’s actually billions of dollars in investor capital that would be unlocked through that,” Sonnenshein told CNBC today.

“Moving to an ETF structure will give investors that additional protection that they want and deserve.”

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