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Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

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Join the most important conversation in crypto and Web3 taking place in Austin, Texas, April 26-28.

Shares of the world’s largest bitcoin fund, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), hit a record-high discount rate of nearly 50% relative to the price of bitcoin (BTC) on Thursday.

GBTC is a way for investors to gain exposure to bitcoin through a traditional investment vehicle. GBTC was trading at a discount rate of 47.3%, according to data from crypto index provider TradeBlock.

“The fact that Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust is now trading at nearly 50% discount is just awful for holders of GBTC. It really highlights the vast differences in structure quality between different investment vehicles,” Bradley Duke, co-CEO at ETC Group, said in a note to CoinDesk.

Bearish sentiment surrounding the trust deepened over the last few weeks as fears surfaced that crypto trading firm Genesis Global Trading, which is owned by Grayscale’s parent company, Digital Currency Group (DCG), could file for bankruptcy. DCG is also CoinDesk's parent company.

Following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, Genesis Global Trading announced on Nov. 16 that it would halt customer withdrawals from its lending unit, Genesis Global Capital. Amid speculation about a possible filing, Genesis said in a note to clients on Wednesday that a resolution of the lending unit’s withdrawal freeze is likely to be a matter of “weeks” rather than days.

One line of speculation on Twitter was that a cascade of liquidity issues at DCG subsidiaries might ultimately lead to the liquidation of GBTC, which could lead to a massive amount of dumping of bitcoin on the open market.

There were even some complaints that Grayscale hadn'r transparently proven its GBTC fund reserves.

GBTC shares haven't traded at a premium to bitcoin since March 2021. Prior to that date, the trust benefited from strong institutional demand and traded at a double-digit premium to its net asset value.

On Tuesday, hedge fund Fir Tree said it is suing Grayscale to obtain details about GBTC in order to investigate potential mismanagement and conflicts of interest. The firm said it wants Grayscale to resume redemptions and cut its 2% fees for the trust.

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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.

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Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.


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Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.