Some of the biggest names on Wall Street and even a handful of U.S. states ended Q2 with multimillion-dollar bets on Coinbase, possibly the ultimate crypto proxy stock.
A review of regulatory documents reveals that a parade of megabanks, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, CitiGroup and Bank of America; asset managers such as Millennium Management, BlackRock and Miller Value Partners; and even states such as Tennessee's Treasury, have told securities regulators they held COIN on June 30.
The investments speak to the exploding demand for exposure to the crypto economy, not just the assets themselves. In COIN, one of the largest crypto exchanges and certainly the best-known one on Nasdaq, these institutional investors sought a comfortable in.
Not all of the giants are purely long on COIN.
Market-makers also held massive COIN positions in an indication of investor demand. Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities LLC had over $1.3 billion in COIN on June 30 but over $1 billion of that was in calls and puts. Lesser-known but no less massive quant firm Susquehanna International Group also placed nearly $1.3 billion in COIN bets with most of that in hedges.
Still, more straight-laced institutional types – namely state-run investment entities – held notable Coinbase positions last quarter. Pennsylvania’s public school employee retirement fund was long on $2.6 million while the Wisconsin Investment Board held $6.4 million, the state of Tennessee $1.7 million and Utah Retirement Systems $13.2 million.
CORRECTION (August 19, 2021, 19:43 UTC): An earlier version of this article may have led readers to believe that Bridgewater Associates held positions in COIN. It was actually Bridgewater Advisors, an unrelated firm, that held the position. This article has also been updated to better reflect the nature of Citadel’s COIN position.
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