As the FTX bankruptcy saga continues, advisors for the collapsed crypto exchange have received court approval to sell assets held in digital trusts from Grayscale and Bitwise, which are collectively valued at nearly $873 million as of today.
FTX holds more than 32 million total shares split between five Grayscale trusts—the Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), Ethereum Trust (ETHE), Ethereum Classic Trust (ETCG), Litecoin Trust (LTCN), and Digital Large Cap Trust (GDLC)—and the Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund.
The bankruptcy court filing enables FTX’s bankruptcy advisors to sell the trust shares to recover funds to repay creditors, including exchange customers. The shares were collectively valued at $744 million as of an October 25 filing, but are now worth nearly $873 million in total thanks to the recent rise in value for assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Grayscale’s publicly traded trusts allow investors to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies without actually owning and taking custody of the underlying assets. The company holds a substantial amount of the underlying crypto asset for each trust—for example, Grayscale holds nearly $24 billion worth of Bitcoin for its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.
While the price of GBTC and other trusts fluctuates like that of the represented assets, they have not historically been aligned. GBTC traded at a premium over the price of actual Bitcoin for many years, but fell to a discount in early 2021. That discount widened significantly, peaking at 49% in late 2022, but has shrunken recently to just above 8% as of today.
Grayscale is one of the many firms attempting to operate a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to approve any such application. The firm intends to convert its Bitcoin Trust into a proper Bitcoin ETF.
In August, the company won a court ruling against the SEC, which had been stalling the decision to review Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF application. The court ruled that the agency must review and consider the application, though the SEC has yet to make a decision on any Bitcoin ETF. A SEC memo shows that the agency recently met with Grayscale principals to discuss.
Edited by Ryan Ozawa.