Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Discount Widens to Record High Near 50%

Shares of the world’s largest bitcoin fund, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), hit a record high discount rate of nearly 50% relative to the price of bitcoin on Thursday.

GBTC is a way for investors to gain exposure to bitcoin through a traditional investment vehicle. GBTC was trading at a discount rate of 47.3%, according to data from crypto index provider TradeBlock.

“The fact that Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust is now trading at nearly 50% discount is just awful for holders of GBTC. It really highlights the vast differences in structure quality between different investment vehicles,” Bradley Duke, Co-CEO at ETC Group, said in a note to CoinDesk.

Bearish sentiment surrounding the trust deepened over the last few weeks as fears surfaced that crypto trading firm Genesis Global Trading, which is owned by Grayscale’s parent company, Digital Currency Group (DCG), could file for bankruptcy.

Following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, Genesis Global Trading announced on Nov. 16 that it would halt customer withdrawals from its lending unit, Genesis Global Capital. Amid speculation about a possible filing, Genesis said in a note to clients on Wednesday that a resolution of the lending unit’s withdrawal freeze is likely to be a matter of “weeks” rather than days.

(Genesis, TradingBlock and CoinDesk are both owned by DCG)

One line of speculation on Twitter was that a cascade of liquidity issues at DCG subsidiaries might ultimately lead to the liquidation of GBTC, which could lead to a massive amount of dumping of bitcoin on the open market.

There were even some complaints that Grayscale had not transparently proven its GBTC fund reserves.

GBTC shares have not traded at a premium to bitcoin since March 2021. Prior to this date, the trust benefited from strong institutional demand and traded at a double-digit premium to its NAV.

On Tuesday Hedge fund Fir Tree said it is suing Grayscale to obtain details about GBTC, in order to investigate potential mismanagement and conflicts of interest. The hedge fund said it wants Grayscale to resume redemptions and cut its 2% fees for the trust.