Grayscale Reports 'Slow' Business During Q4 2018, Company Still Raises $30.1 Million

Digital Currency Group subsidiary, Grayscale Investments reportedly raised $30.1 million during the last quarter of 2018.

The New York-based investment company had raised a record $95.4 million during the same time period in 2017. Commenting on the considerable decline in the amount of funds Grayscale’s investment packages have attracted, Michael Sonnenshein, the firm’s managing director, told The Block he was not surprised about Grayscale’s performance during Q4 2018.

Sonnenshein, a former associate at JPMorgan and (also previously an) analyst at the Bank of America and Barclays, said the last three months of 2018 were a “little bit slower” - as expected. During Q3 2018, Grayscale managed to raise significantly more funds as the digital asset investment firm received $81.1 million in inflows.

Attributing the decline in investments made in the final quarter of 2018 to “seasonal challenges”, Sonnenshein said he was still confident as Grayscale’s full-year inflows were valued at a substantial $359.5 million. Notably, Sonnenshein revealed that Grayscale’s overall performance for FY 2018 was its strongest, or best, since the firm was established in 2013.

"Majority" Of Clients Prefer Bitcoin (BTC)

According to Grayscale’s asset managers, 50% of the firm’s total inflows in Q4 2018 were from institutional investors who were mostly based in the US. A large percentage of the cryptoasset investment firm’s clients are also retirees, the company revealed.

Despite the sharp decline in bitcoin’s (BTC) price - after recording all-time highs of nearly $20,000 in late 2017 to currently trading at around $3,500, “the majority” of Grayscale’s inflows have been in bitcoin-related investments. Most of Grayscale’s clients prefer to invest in the company’s “passive" Bitcoin Trust, while limited investments are made in altcoins products such as the Bitcoin Cash Trust, Sonnenshein said.

Explaining why most investors continue to prefer bitcoin-related investments, Grayscale’s managing director noted “that’s where investors have spent the most time, hence they’re most comfortable with that asset.” Significantly more investors trust bitcoin over other cryptos because the flagship cryptocurrency has “overcome so much adversity”, Sonnenshein added.

Recently, Barry Silbert, the CEO of the Digital Currency Group (Grayscale’s parent company), had remarked that “bitcoin is king.”

DCG: Involved In 110 Crypto-Related Businesses

Silbert’s comments came during an interview with CNBC - during which he predicted that most “digital tokens” would “go to zero.” Having worked extensively as an investment banker, Silbert is notably one of the earliest and most active investors in the cryptoasset industry.

Established in 2015, the Digital Currency Group (DCG) is focused on "building and supporting the largest early stage investment portfolio in the digital currency and blockchain ecosystem."

DCG is reportedly involved in 110 crypto-related businesses in 30 different countries. Some of the crypto and blockchain firms DCG has invested in include Abra, BitPay, BitPesa, Blockchain, Blockstream, Brave, Chainalysis, Circle, Coinbase, Kraken, Ledger, Ripple, and Xapo.

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Coinbase Quietly Pulls the Plug on Its Cryptocurrency Bundle Product

Francisco Memoria

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has quietly pulled the plug on its Bundle product, which allowed users to buy a basket of cryptocurrencies with fiat.

According to an update on its FAQ page, the cryptocurrency exchange “deprecated” the Coinbase Bundle product, and all assets in it have been “redistributed to their respective individual asset wallets.”

The move, first spotted by Crypto Briefing, is believed to have been made because the product wasn’t a profitable one. Coinbase Bundle was launched back in September of last year to make it easier for investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency ecosystem, through a weighted basket of the cryptocurrencies the company then offered.

This means users could use a small amount of fiat to buy bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and ethereum classic at once. Per the exchange itself, the bundle’s purpose was to “make buying more convenient and less overwhelming.”

At the time, the exchange also launched other features: Coinbase Learn and new asset pages.

The timing was off, however, as the product was launched during the bear market that saw the price of most cryptocurrencies drop well over 80%. Images shared on social media in December of 2018, when bitcoin hit its $3,200 low, showed investing $100 on Coinbase would’ve led to significant losses only a few months later.

As covered, Coinbase recently launched a service offering its users four free exclusive “trading signals,” in a bid to help its customers “independently create and manage their own crypto strategy.”

It’s worth noting Abra, a digital asset exchange and wallet provider,  launched a product packaging various cryptocurrencies into one at about the same time Coinbase launched its Bundle product. Abra’s product is its BIT10 token.