Fidelity Digital Assets Dives Into Why Institutions Are Adding Bitcoin to Treasury Reserves

Over the year, several companies have chosen to add Bitcoin to their Treasury reserves, including MicroStrategy, Square Inc., and Tudor Investment Corporation. The latest two, Canada-based BIGG Digital Assets and MassMutual, a 169-year old insurance firm, also added $3.6 million and $100 million in BTC to their reserves in 2020, respectively.

As one of the first institutional investment-focused firms on Bitcoin, Fidelity Digital Assets released a synthesis report on the growing number of institutions adding BTC as a treasury reserve asset – and crucially, why more companies will consider adding Bitcoin-backed treasuries in the future.

From August through October, a billion-dollar publicly traded firm, MicroStrategy, added over 40,000 Bitcoin for $475 million into its Treasury coffers. Less than three months later, Michael Saylor, MicroStrategy’s CEO, announced a doubled down bet on BTC selling $635 million of senior convertible notes to purchase the ‘digital gold.’

The huge bet paid off wonderfully across Q4 2020 for MicroStrategy’s stock (MSTR), which reached a 20-year high after the firm recorded over 50% profit on its BTC Treasury reserves. Despite CITI Bank downgrading its stock from “neutral” to “sell” in their latest report (due to “disproportionate focus on BTC), the firm looks to add even more, Saylor confirmed.

Additionally, Square Inc., founded by Twitter CEO and Bitcoin enthusiast Jack Dorsey, introduced BTC buying and selling through Cash App earlier in the year. The payments firm purchased $50 million worth of bitcoin (or 4,709 bitcoins) in October 2020, representing 1% of their Treasury reserve.

Other institutions such as Stone Ridge, Mode Global Holdings PLC, and Tudor Investment Corporation have also announced Bitcoin allocations this year.

So what is causing a sudden increase in corporations adopting Bitcoin-backed Treasury reserves?

Damaged financials, cash flows, and profitability

According to the report, three main issues affect a corporation’s decision to hold BTC in its reserves. First, the global COVID-19 pandemic “damaged corporate balance sheets, cash flows, and profitability,” which put most corporations in a precarious position. The sudden reduction in cash flows raises the importance for these institutions to put away excess cash in uncorrelated investments to fight off the recession.

Bitcoin is well-diversified from the demand shocks that health and economic crises cause on stocks, bonds, and traditional finance markets. The report further states,

“Companies may also benefit from bitcoin’s diversification benefits, potential outperformance, and liquidity profile when the core business and other potential investments are disadvantaged by the state of the economy”.

Moreover, BTC offers companies the potential of a longer-term investment profile while also offering liquidity to shorter-term investors. This will help companies maintain their liquidity while diversifying their investments, providing a buffer in difficult times.

Ultra-low interest rates across the world

Secondly, interest rates across the world reached yearly lows as the pandemic struck to stimulate borrowing. However, while corporations may rejoice in having a cheaper leeway for acquiring debt or refinancing existing debt at lower rates, companies with excess cash reserves may suffer as they cannot find attractive rates, the report explains.

While safe-haven assets like gold and Bitcoin generally do not generate interest yields, having these assets in your portfolio prevents cash-filed companies from avoiding negative or ultra-low interest rates, the report also states.

Inflation strikes

Finally, there has been an increase in monetary and fiscal policies globally, with money printing reaching “unprecedented levels.” McKinsey’s report showed that the top 54 economies contributing to 93% of global GDP made over $10 trillion in stimulus payments in two months – over three times more than the 2008 financial crisis. This unchecked and unbalanced economic stimulus could cause a sudden hike in asset and consumer price inflation leading to corporations having less purchasing power with cash.

Bitcoin offers a verifiable and inelastic monetary supply, which differs from the expansive monetary and fiscal currently being broadcast globally. Some companies view BTC as a wealth preserving asset that could prevent inflation risk and store value.

The entry of MicroStrategy, Home Ridge, Square Inc., and Tudor Investment Corporation signals a start of the institutional investment wave in Bitcoin – and who can predict how far it can go?

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitcoin and MMT Critic Janet Yellen Picked as Treasury Secretary by Biden

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury Secretary. Yellen, an economist, if confirmed by the Senate, will become the first woman to hold the position.

This holds meaning for the crypto market as Jake Chervinksy, a General Counsel at Compound Finance, said,

“This is the single most important decision for the next four years of US crypto policy. The next Treasury Secretary will have enormous influence on whether the right to financial privacy is upheld or sacrificed to mass surveillance & forced custodianship.”

For Wall Street, it could be good news as just last month she said the US needs to “continue extraordinary fiscal support.”

Yellen had been at the forefront of policy-making for three decades, which means nobody knows the Fed better than her. Not only will she be a great Treasury Secretary, but she will also help the government achieve its objective of increased coordination between monetary and fiscal policy, said crypto trader and economist Alex Kruger.

But not only Yellen is not a fan of MMT, having said that its proponents are “confused,” but she is not really a bitcoin proponent either.

Back in December 2017, at the height of the bull run, she called Bitcoin a “highly speculative asset.”

“Bitcoin, at this time, plays a very small role in the payment system. It is not a stable source of value, and it does not constitute legal tender,” she said at the time, adding that while the Fed is researching it, “I think to my mind, limited benefits from introducing it, a limited need for it and some substantial concerns.”

During Yellen’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee in July 2017, someone photobombed her with the “Buy Bitcoin” sign.

Yellen-buy-bitcoin

In Oct. 2018, while explaining why BTC is not a useful form of currency, Yellen shared that she received “a gift of bitcoins.” Raz Suprovici, the founder of the bitcoin gifting service Biterica, had sent 0.0031642 BTC, worth about $20 at that time, which has now increased to roughly $60, to Yellen to make her understand it better.

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Author: AnTy

Winklevoss Twins’ Gemini Onboards Eventus to Detect Manipulation on the Exchange

Cryptocurrency exchange and custodian Gemini has chosen Eventus Systems to provide it with surveillance and anti-market manipulation tools. Austin-based Eventus already provides its services to Coinbase and ErisX, and three other exchanges.

Currently, a less regulated space, crypto, is seeing increased scrutiny from the regulators. Manipulation has been the primary reason why the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has repeatedly rejected the Bitcoin ETFs.

“The digital asset space is a constantly changing environment,” Noah Perlman, Gemini’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Eventus has a great track record.”

Gemini was founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in 2014. They also created the Virtual commodity Association in 2018 to work with regulators, including CFTC, to prevent fraud and manipulation in crypto markets. That year, Gemini hired Nasdaq to provide market surveillance.

“As digital assets grow in popularity, it’s more important than ever that marketplaces like Gemini establish comprehensive trade-surveillance programs and procedures to ensure they remain constantly vigilant,” said Eventus chief executive officer Travis Schwab.

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Author: AnTy