When Ruffer Investment wanted bitcoin in November it turned to One River Digital, which went to Coinbase to hit the “buy” button on a purchase now worth over $745 million, a Ruffer representative confirmed to CoinDesk.
In a recent portfolio update, Ruffer alluded to the involvement of the “world’s largest custodian of digital assets” without naming names. “Access to the bitcoin is controlled by multi-layer security protocols,” Ruffer wrote of its cold-storage setup. A second source confirmed to CoinDesk that Coinbase was the custodian described in Ruffer’s portfolio update. Coinbase Custody announced last month it was storing over $20 billion in customer assets.
The revelation sheds light on how large investors are entering the bitcoin market: namely through trusted partners. Big bets in recent weeks by everyone from MassMutual to Guggenheim are seen as the driving force behind bitcoin’s current price rally. (MassMutual went with NYDIG for its $100 million bitcoin buy.)
As CoinDesk reported Tuesday, Ruffer invested 2.5% of its $27 billion portfolio into bitcoin in November. The following day, One River Digital, a crypto-focused offshoot of volatility hedge fund One River Asset Management, came out of stealth, proclaiming it had already brokered $600 million in bitcoin and ether for its institutional clients.
Coinbase confirmed on Wednesday it was conducting trade execution and crypto custody for One River Digital. It declined to comment for this story.
One River Digital did not respond to a request for comment.
The Ruffer revelation shows just how far San Francisco’s Coinbase is reaching into the world of fund management.
Coinbase is now readying itself for a Wall Street debut. On Thursday, as bitcoin continued to race past its $20,000 ceiling into new all-time highs, the exchange announced it had confidentially filed for an initial public offering with U.S. regulators.
Ruffer’s bitcoin philosophy
Meanwhile, Ruffer explained in its portfolio update that macroeconomic factors guided the manager’s bitcoin bet.
“The current macroeconomic environment is set up perfectly for an asset that blends the benefits of technology and gold,” Ruffer said, adding:
Ruffer said bitcoin has grown to meet this moment.
“Since 2017, billions of dollars have been invested in the infrastructure needed to support this wave of bitcoin adoption; many of the impediments to institutional investors have been dismantled.”
Ruffer’s analysis was clear: the institutions are here with more on the way; the cypherpunks are fading fast. Wrote the $27 billion mega-manager:
Zack Seward contributed reporting.
CORRECTION [12/21/20 10:46 AM EST]: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Ruffer owns a stake in One River Digital.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.