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.

One Dollar or One Bitcoin? Which One Would a U.S. College Student Choose?

Siamak Masnavi

Around the beginning of this month, as a way of gauging young people's awareness of Bitcoin, one YouTube channel ("Capital Creators") conducted a very small informal survey of students at an American college. (This survey was first reported by crypto news outlet Bitcoinist earlier today.)

The students were asked just one question: "which would choose - one dollar or one bitcoin? ". The results of this survey might surprise you. 

At the time of this survey, one Bitcoin (BTC) was trading around $5,400. The survey took place on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Here is what the interviewer said to each student:

"So, right here, I have one dollar in my hand, and I also have one bitcoin on my phone in my pocket. If I were to give you one of these right now, which one would you accept?"

Amazingly (or not, depending on how widespread is the current public awareness of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in particular), most of these students voted in favor of the one dollar bill.

Here were some of their responses and the reasons for their answers:

  • "The dollar -- that's almost enough for [a pack] of Reese's." 
  • "The dollar -- I don't know much about Bitcoin, but I know much about dollars."
  • "Today, I want the bitcoin." When asked why, he replied: "Because I follow Bitcoin." (When asked if he had a way of receiving that bitcoin, the student replied "no", and that he would need set up an app first.)
  • "The dollar". Why? "Because isn't a bitcoin protected by a password and if you lose your password, you lose your bitcoin? I'm not going to lose the dollar."
  • "The dollar." Why? "Because currently I have 83 cents to my name, so I kind of want the dollar now... Also, Bitcoin is risky. If I were to invest, I would invest in something other than Bitcoin."
  • "The bitcoin -- that's just worth like five grand right now, isn't it?... I invested last year, right as it went up... I made like a thousand dollars in a week, and then I lost all of it."
  • "I'd take the dollar." Why? "Because I'm hungry, and I could use it on a vending machine." 
  • "The dollar." Why? "Because that [pointing to the one dollar bill held in the interviewer's hand] I know it's its value, and it's not going to change. It doesn't depend on other people, too."

Rather unsurprisingly, of the people who chose to have the dollar, none seemed to have even a rough idea of the price of Bitcoin. As for those very few people who said they would prefer to have the bitcoin, none had a crypto wallet of any kind, and so they were unable to receive any bitcoin even if somebody was offering it to them for free.

If you are HOLDing Bitcoin, there is no need to get too alarmed by the disappointing results of this little survey (it seems like fewer than 20 students took part in the survey) since during April 23–25, 2019, Harris Poll conducted an online survey (among 2,029 American adults) on behalf of Blockchain Capital.

The results, which were reported in a Medium blog post published on 30 April 2019 by Spencer Bogart, a partner at Blockchain Capital, showed that in the 18-34 demographic: 

  • "The percentage of people that have heard of Bitcoin rose from 77% in October 2017 to 89% in April 2019."
  • "... a full 60% described themselves as at least ‘somewhat familiar’ with Bitcoin — up from 42% in October 2017."
  • "Nearly half (48%)... ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that ‘it’s likely most people will be using Bitcoin in the next 10 years’ — up 6 percentage points from October 2017."
  • "42%... said they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ likely to purchase Bitcoin in the next 5 years — up 10 percentage points from 32% in October 2017." 

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