BlackRock and Fidelity hold $5.5b in Bitcoin — but these holders have even more

BlackRock and Fidelity hold $5.5b in Bitcoin — but these holders have even more
Larry Fink's BlackRock spot Bitcoin ETF has amassed billions in weeks, as ARK Invest's Cathie Wood trails behind. Credit: Andrés Tapia
  • Wall Street titans BlackRock and Fidelity’s spot Bitcoin ETFs have surpassed $5 billion in a few weeks since SEC approval.
  • Grayscale is the world’s biggest holder, followed by private companies such as MicroStrategy and governments like the US.

Wall Street megafunds are piling into Bitcoin.

They are doing it via spot Bitcoin ETFs, or exchange traded funds, which allow investors the ability to bet on moves in crypto without needing to actually hold it.

Leading the charge are BlackRock and Fidelity, funds with combined assets under management at some $14 trillion — more than the GDP of most countries.

Since the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s January 10 nod, BlackRock and Fidelity have accumulated $5.5 billion in Bitcoin between them.

Stay ahead of the game with our weekly newsletters

BlackRock’s iShares and Fidelity’s Wise Origin ETFs have pulled far ahead of their competitors, with Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest runner-up at $660 million in Bitcoin, according to BitcoinTreasuries.net.

Incumbent Bitcoin stacker Grayscale still holds the most, at over $20 billion, though the new ETFs have been picking away at its dominance.

MicroStrategy is a blockchain intelligence firm that has been in operation since 1989, and became the first listed company to buy Bitcoin in 2020.

Headed by outspoken co-founder and chairman Michael Saylor — whose enthusiastic backing of Bitcoin has become the stuff of memes — MicroStrategy has consistently purchased large amounts of the asset through both bull and bear markets.

Join the community to get our latest stories and updates

According to the most recent reports, MicroStrategy currently holds 189,150 Bitcoin, worth over $8 billion.

In a 2023 interview, Saylor brushed aside fears that Bitcoin ETFs could harm MicroStrategy, and said that ETFs would be the “supertanker” for his MicroStrategy “sports car.” Saylor pointed to MicroStrategy’s lack of fees compared to ETFs as well as his company’s ability to utilise leverage in its Bitcoin bets as advantages.

The company’s stock outperformed Bitcoin’s 150% gain last year with a 300% price increase. Microstrategy is set to report earnings on Monday.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust

Grayscale Investments is the top Bitcoin holder, primarily through its flagship Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which has held over 600,000 Bitcoin since late 2020, according to CoinGlass.

Grayscale is the incumbent spot Bitcoin ETF, having waited in the wings as the SEC weighed — and rejected — its many applications since its launch.

After rejections, legal troubles amid the crypto collapses of 2022, and the foray into the market by Wall Street firms, Grayscale finally achieved approval.

iShares’s IBIT has been beating out Grayscale in both volume and liquidity this week, as pointed out by Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart in an X post.

The US Government

The US Government currently holds an estimated $9.2 billion in Bitcoin, making it the largest national holder.

Though the government sits on one of the world’s largest stacks of BTC, it has accumulated most of it through seizures by the Justice Department, Internal Revenue Service, and other regulators.

“The government moves generally very slowly to dispose of those assets because they’ve got to do a ton of due diligence, the cases are often complicated and there’s a lot of red tape,” Nicolas Christin, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, told the Wall Street Journal in October 2023.

Because of the criminal nature of the US’s Bitcoin holdings, it does not interact with the market based on factors such as price. Rather, the selling is carried out when particular cases resolve and orders are given to liquidate the contents.

In many cases, the process takes years.

Examples of the US procuring Bitcoin through seizures include 69,000 Bitcoin seized from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht in 2020, and a $3.6 billion seizure in 2022 which is, to date, the world’s largest.

Tyler Pearson is a junior markets correspondent at DL News. Got a hot tip? Reach out to him at ty@dlnews.com.

Update: This article was updated to reflect the most up-to-date BlackRock and Fidelity holdings values.

Related Topics