Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) has gained increasing mainstream adoption over the years, managing to transform skeptics into backers along the way.
What Happened: Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), the fourth-largest investment bank, bought more of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTC:GBTC) into a number of its investment funds, filings with the SEC revealed.
The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, launched in September 2013, operates with the goal of providing investors access to Bitcoin in a managed vehicle.
Morgan Stanley’s Growth Portfolio had 3,642,118 shares of GBTC as of Sept. 30, up from 3,642,118 shares at the end of June. 30, a Twitter user going by the handle @MacroScope17 said, citing the filings.
The Insight Fund increased its GBTC holdings from 928,051 shares at the end of June to 1,520,549 at the end of September, he added.
The investment firm’s Global Opportunity Portfolio also bulked up on GBTC, increasing holdings from 919,805 at the end of June to 1,463,714 at the end of September.
Other Morgan Stanley funds also significantly increased their GBTC holdings, the Twitter user said.
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Why It’s Important: Morgan Stanley’s deepened exposure to the biggest crypto is reflective of the firm’s changed stance toward digital currencies.
In the company’s third-quarter earnings call, CEO James Gorman said crypto is not a fad and will not go away.
“I don’t know what the value of Bitcoin should or shouldn’t be. But these things aren’t going away, and the blockchain technology supporting it is obviously very real and powerful,” Gorman said on the call.
He went on to add that Morgan Stanley isn’t directly trading crypto for retail clients, instead giving them access to buy crypto through various funds.
“For us, honestly, it’s just not a huge part of the business demand from our clients. And that may evolve and we’ll evolve with it,” he said.
“We’re watchful of it, we’re respectful, and we’ll wait and see how the regulators handle it.”
Other big banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) haven’t really warmed to the Bitcoin experiment. JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, in particular, has been highly critical of Bitcoin.
“I personally think that Bitcoin is worthless,” Dimon reportedly said at the Institute of International Finance annual membership meeting in mid-October.
Clients are “adults” and the firm will give them “clean as possible access,” to crypto, he reportedly said.
At last check, Bitcoin, which has been on a tear this year notwithstanding the recent lackluster phase, was down 1.4% over 24 hours at $56,623.
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