Founded by Barry Silbert in 2013, Grayscale Investments is a digital asset management firm owned by Silbert’s venture capital firm, Digital Currency Group (DCG), which also owns CoinDesk.
Grayscale manages the Bitcoin Investment Trust, which is a private investment vehicle wholly devoted to bitcoin, and was the first of its kind in the U.S.
Grayscale also manages investment trusts for bitcoin cash, ethereum, ethereum classic, horizon, Litecoin, stellar lumens, XRP and zcash, as well as the Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund, the first listed diversified crypto asset investment vehicle in the U.S.
These trusts are structurally similar to commodity ETFs in that their value in theory reflects the value of the underlying asset, and they are accessible through traditional brokerage and retirement accounts. However, they are traded over the counter (OTC) rather than on exchanges. Initial shares are only available to accredited investors, who are subject to a lock-up of 6-12 months before being able to sell their shares to the general public.
The trusts do not currently operate a redemption mechanism, which limits the initial liquidity.
Also, because no new shares are being created, demand in the secondary markets can (and usually does) push the value of each trust share to a significant premium to the value of the underlying asset.