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.

Binance Acquires Crypto Debit Card Issuer for an Undisclosed Sum

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has acquired cryptocurrency debit card issuer Swipe for an undisclosed sum, in a deal that gets the platform one step closer to issuing its Binance Card.

Finance Magnates reports the firms shared revealed the companies will “work together to further mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies,” by further bringing fiat and digital assets together. The deal will allow for cryptos to be used as a payment method in the traditional financial system.

Binance unveiled its plan to launch a Visa crypto debit card earlier this year, but was having difficulties implementing it. The acquisition of crypto start Swipe should help fix these difficulties and support the exchange in its “mission of making crypto more accessible to the masses.”

Per Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, off-ramps are a key component to be considered in its mission. He added:

By giving users the ability to convert and spend crypto directly, and have merchants still seamlessly accept fiat, this will make the crypto experience much better for everyone.

Binance and Swipe listed each other’s native tokens as part of the deal. Binance now has trading pairs for Swipe’s SXP token, while the Binance Coin (BNB) was added to the cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and fiat currencies available as a payment method on Swipe.

Swipe, it’s worth noting, converts cryptoassets into fiat currencies at the point of purchase. Users pay in a cryptoassets of their choice, which is then converted into fiat currency the merchant receives, so the latter does not have to manage cryptoassets, or accept payments in them directly.

Swipe’s cards are issued by Contis Financial Services, a visa Principal Member regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. They are available in 31 countries within the European Economic Area, and support transactions in euros, pounds, U.S. dollars, Korean won, and Philippine pesos.

The firm’s CEO Joselito Lizarondo revealed partnering will Binance will “place Swipe in the position to make cryptocurrencies more accessible for millions of users worldwide.” Binance Card users will be able to get up to 4% cashback in bitcoin on their purchases, which will be available in over 50 million locations in the world.

Featured image via Pixabay.