According to SEC filings made yesterday, both JP Morgan and Wells Fargo plan to offer Bitcoin to their clients through Bitcoin asset manager NYDIG. There were two filings for JP Morgan, one for investments via a U.S. based fund, NYDIG Private Bitcoin Fund LP, and the other for a similar one in the Caymans. Wells Fargo will participate in the FS NYDIG Bitcoin Fund I, the same fund that Morgan Stanley signed up to in March. A paper published by Wells Fargo in May highlighted the plans.
For regulatory reasons, the big banks can’t offer cryptocurrencies directly. Hence they tend to offer wealthy clients access to funds. Two of the popular providers are NYDIG, which was founded by StoneRidge, or Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. NYDIG only offers exposure to Bitcoin, whereas the Galaxy Digital funds are broader.
Galaxy is also exploring the potential for offering staking funds. Staking is where tokens are committed to provide security in a Proof of Stake network – as opposed to mining – with the token holders earning a return.
Both asset managers have attracted big names. NYDIG has signed up several big insurers on both the life and casualty side. Mass Mutual was the first, followed by NY Life and Liberty Mutual. Morgan Stanley is offering both NYDIG and Galaxy funds to its clients, and Goldman has a relationship with Galaxy.
CNBC reported earlier this month that JP Morgan was also offering funds from Grayscale Investments and Osprey Funds.
Meanwhile, Goldman filed plans for a ‘DeFi’ ETF last month, with the term decentralized finance used a little loosely. It will invest in stocks with cryptocurrency exposure. Hence it has a good chance of getting SEC clearance. To date, the SEC has not given the go-ahead for any ETFs directly representing Bitcoin of Ether. However, SEC Chair Gary Gensler recently hinted that he might consider one based on CME Bitcoin futures, presumably, because that’s a more regulated environment.