Some of the largest university endowment funds in the U.S. have reportedly been quietly buying bitcoin for the past year through accounts at Coinbase and other cryptocurrency exchanges.
According to a report published by CoinDesk, citing two people familiar with the matter, Harvard, Yale, Brown, and the University of Michigan as well as several other colleges have been buying bitcoin directly from cryptocurrency exchanges after several Ivy League endowments took an interest in blockchain technology via a crypto-focused venture capital funds back in 2018.
One of the sources was quoted as saying there are “quite a few” university endowments allocating funds to the cryptocurrency space, but noted these are “allocating a little bit to crypto” only, which presumably means most are allocating small fractions of their portfolios to the space.
Some of the university endowments, according to the report, have held accounts with Coinbase for up to 18 months and could have started investing since mid-2019. The source added:
Most have been in at least a year. I would think they will probably discuss it publicly at some point this year. I suspect they would be sitting on some pretty nice chunks of return.
It’s worth noting university endowments are pools of capital academic institutions have accumulated, often in the form of charitable donations. These funds support teaching and research, and can be allocated to various assets as investments.
Harvard has the largest university endowment with over $40 billion in assets, while Yale has over $30 billion and Michigan has about $12.5 billion. Brown holds $4.7 billion. How much each allocated to crypto is unknown.
Another source, purportedly involved in the crypto hedge fund world, told CoinDesk there has been a “big change” in the last few months, as it has been seeing defined benefit pension plans and public pension plans “getting close to making allocations.”
Several firms have already invested in bitcoin, it’s worth noting, with Nasdaq-listed MicroStrategy leading the charge after using $1.135 billion to buy 70,784 BTC, now worth $2.27 billion. Earlier this week, crypto mining firm Marathon Patent Group announced it acquired over $150 million worth of bitcoin.
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