An unknown cryptocurrency investor has recently paid a hefty premium on the price of Ethereum’s ether to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency, as data suggests he or she paid over $5,200 per ether when the cryptocurrency is trading at about $300.
As CryptoGlobe covered the Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) launched on over-the-counter (OTC) markets earlier this month, allowing retail investors to buy ETHE shares and gain exposure to the cryptocurrency ecosystem through it.
Like Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), investors pay a premium with ETHE as there’s only a limited number of shares out there. Those who buy them gain exposure to the underlying cryptocurrency without actually having to manage it, and Grayscale benefits by taking a fee to do so.
Currently, the firm has over $2.7 billion under management, as we can see each ETHE share has approximately 0.0962 ‘physical’ ether backing it.
6/28/19 UPDATE: Holdings per share, net assets under management and digital assets per share for our investment products.
— Grayscale (@GrayscaleInvest) June 28, 2019
While it’s possible some retail investors are buying these shares to gain exposure without wanting to manage their own cryptocurrency, it’s assumed most investors paying the premium are institutions who don’t want to have to worry about their cryptoassets’ security. The premiums fluctuate wildly according to supply and demand, and are currently at around 30% for GBTC.
Currently, the market for ETHE is rather illiquid and the premium is significant. Since each ETHE share has 0.096 ether in it, each share’s net asset value is of about $30. The shares are currently trading at $120, and at one point got to $499.
This means that someone bought 0.096 ETH for nearly $500. In other words, the purchase priced one ether token at about $5,200. For reference, ether’s all-time high was of $1,400 in early 2018, according to CryptoCompare data.