Ark Investment Management (ARK), the first public fund manager to invest in bitcoin through Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), has now sold most of its bitcoin holdings over regulatory concerns, to the point they’re now a negligible part of its ETFs.
ARK, which holds thematic exchange-traded funds (ETFs), recently received an “ETF Of the Year” award from ETF.com for its ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), for its access to disruptive technology, and its performance last year.
Behind its performance was its unique allocation to bitcoin, which often led the list of ARKK’s holdings, as it hovered between 6 and 10 percent of its portfolio, according to CNBC. ARK also had another ETF that offered similar access to bitcoin, its internet-focused counterpart ARK Web x.0 ETF (ARKW).
The organization purchased bitcoin through GBTC as it cannot own bitcoin directly. It bought the cryptocurrency back in 2015, when it was trading below $250 per coin. According to data from CryptoCompare, the cryptocurrency surged to nearly $20,000 last year, before its price crashed to a $6,800 low and started recovering. Thanks to its BTC holdings, ARKK and ARKW were each up by more than 87 percent last year, while GBTC surged a whopping 1,550 percent.
This year, ARK has reportedly been trimming its exposure to bitcoin in both funds, as the flagship cryptocurrency now only represents 0.5 and 0.6 percent of the funds’ portfolios. According to the company, the “complicated decision” to divest of most of its bitcoin holdings was driven by regulatory and tax-related concerns, and not by the cryptocurrency’s “merits.”
ARK’s chief executive officer Catherine Wood has in the past revealed the organization was investing in bitcoin, as it sees the cryptocurrency as “bigger than Apple.” She said:
“I know a lot of people say, ‘don’t compare this to Apple, which is nearing a trillion dollars, but this is so much bigger than even Apple, which is a pretty big idea.”
On the other hand, some speculate ARK trimmed its BTC exposure because of the cryptocurrency’s performance. While GBTC is down 37 percent so far this year, ARKK and ARKW are both up by about 15 percent.
Another possibility is ARK was simply taking profits on last year’s investments, and left the cryptocurrency alone during its bearish trend. If so, the company may invest in the cryptocurrency once its price starts increasing.