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Osprey Funds, Bitcoin Trust Sponsor, Is Going Indie

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What You Need to Know

  • Osprey Funds is separating from parent company REX Shares.
  • CEO Greg King says the spinoff will allow Osprey to keep growing and meet product demand.
  • Crypto trusts are proliferating as the price of Bitcoin surges.

In yet another sign of the growing interest in cryptocurrencies, Osprey Funds, the sponsor of a  Bitcoin trust that was launched in February, announced it is separating from its parent company, REX Shares.

“The move reinforces our commitment to establishing Osprey as a leader in investable digital asset-based funds,” said Greg King, Osprey CEO, in a statement. “There is significant investor appetite for cryptocurrency investments that trade publicly under a ticker symbol, as evidenced by the recent interest in OBTC, our flagship product.”

King added that independence will enable Osprey to continue its fast growth and meet the demand for new products.

With that in mind, Osprey announced three new hires to accelerate research, investor relations and market capabilities, which suggested the firm might be considering plans for cryptocurrency ETFs, although the firm did not provide specific information about any future products.

Ryan Ballantyne, a former executive vice president at Reality Shares, where he oversaw sales, distribution, investor relations and product development for ETFs, is Osprey’s new managing director of investor relations. Scott McKenna, who headed marketing efforts for ETFLogic, is Osprey’s vice president of marketing, and Bill Birmingham, a former senior equity analyst for hedge funds, including Carlson Capital and Impala Asset Management, is Osprey’s head of research.

OBTC vs. GBTC

Osprey’s Bitcoin Trust (OBTC), which was launched Feb. 16 as a low-cost alternative to the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), has reached $150 million in assets. GBTC has over $36 billion in assets.

Osprey’s share price, however, is currently near $23, well below its opening price of over $40 a share. GBTC’s share price is just over $53 a share, slightly higher than its price on Feb. 16. Both Bitcoin trusts were trading at a premium to their NAV on Thursday afternoon, but the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust was much narrower and very recent. It had been trading at a discount to NAV in recent weeks.

Bitcoin prices, meanwhile, have surged from around $50,000 on Feb. 16 to nearly $60,000, gaining far more in price than either the Osprey or Grayscale trusts over the same time period.

On Wednesday, Grayscale announced the addition of five new crypto asset trusts, available as private placements for accredited investors, with a holding period of one year. After a year the trusts could evolve potentially into an over-the-counter fund available to all investors, as GBTC and OBTC have.

(Image: Shutterstock)