Bitcoin (BTC) is up 87% this year, even before today’s rally to $31,000, but the asset’s rising tide has lifted public stock for crypto companies to even greater heights.
For one, shares in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC)—the world’s largest Bitcoin fund—have risen 196% since the start of the year, proving a far more profitable choice for buyers over the real thing.
Grayscale plans to give investors exposure to its underlying Bitcoin stash by converting its fund into a spot Bitcoin ETF. If approved by regulators, this will make each share in its fund directly redeemable for a fixed slice of BTC.
Since that hasn’t happened yet—and because it isn’t guaranteed to ever happen—GBTC shares have long traded at a discount to the BTC held by Grayscale.
However, a major legal victory over the U.S. government this year has made conversion a far more likely possibility in the eyes of the market, and that discount has shrunk dramatically in response. Just today, a D.C. court ordered the SEC to give Grayscale’s Bitcoin spot ETF a fresh look.
As such, gains from the shrinking share discount have worked in tandem with BTC’s rising underlying value to create a massive windfall for GBTC holders.
Aside from Grayscale, many firms have used MicroStrategy (MSTR) stock as a proxy for buying Bitcoin. That company too has blasted past Bitcoin, up 161% year-to-date.
Much like an ETF, the software company has deployed the full strength of its balance sheet toward buying Bitcoin. It now holds 158,254 BTC—a $4.8 billion stash that recently has flipped back into the profit zone.
Meanwhile, Coinbase (COIN) shares popped another 6% on Monday, bringing its year-to-date gains up to 135%. While the exchange has long correlated with the crypto market at large, its defiant stance against a U.S. government lawsuit and a blessing from BlackRock as its Bitcoin ETF custodian of choice sent COIN shares to the moon in late June.
A common destination for first-time crypto buyers, Coinbase’s performance has also dwarfed TradFi firms that have tried to establish themselves as competing Bitcoin-on ramps.
Block (SQ; formerly Square) – the fintech company founded by the Bitcoin-loving Jack Dorsey – has offered support for Bitcoin trading since 2018 through it subsidiary payment service, CashApp. Despite this and more recent forays to bring Block closer to Bitcoin, SQ is down 31% since January 1.
PayPal, too, has sunk a similar 27% since the year began. The payment platform holds hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto on behalf of its users, and recently launched its own stablecoin, PYUSD.
Public Bitcoin mining firms have also outperformed Bitcoin in 2023, netting an average return of 148.59%.