Top 10 BTC ETF Holders: Biggest Institutional Investors | 2024

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The approval of spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange traded funds (ETFs) in the U.S. in January 2024 was a watershed moment for the crypto industry.

The move officially legitimized Bitcoin as a financial asset and paved the way for professional investors, hedge funds, family offices and institutions to invest in Bitcoin.

In May 2024, the U.S. state of Wisconsin disclosed that it had purchased spot BTC ETFs worth $163 million in the first quarter of 2024, making it one of the first state pension funds to invest in cryptocurrencies.

The influx of institutional capital is expected to support Bitcoin prices while making it more sensitive than ever to macroeconomic forces. So who are the largest BTC ETF holders among institutions? Let’s find out.

Key Takeaways

  • The US state of Wisconsin became one of the first state pension funds to invest in cryptocurrencies.
  • New York-headquartered Millennium Management was the top known spot BTC ETF holder.
  • Susquehanna International Group invested in 10 different spot BTC ETFs.
  • Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan said professional investors will increase allocation to spot BTC ETF in the months to come.

How Do We Know Which Institutions Invested in Spot BTC ETFs?

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires investors with over $100 million in assets under management to file a quarterly report called Form 13F. In the report, investors have to disclose their holdings of publicly traded securities.

Form 13F is required to be filed within 45 days after the end of the quarter.

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By studying Form 13F filings, market participants use 13F filings to study where institutions and professional investors are investing their capital.

10 Biggest Institutional Spot BTC ETF Holders?

According to Bitwise chief investment officer Matt Hougan, spot BTC ETFs attracted over $11 billion in assets by mid-May 2024 to collectively become the most popular ETF launch of all time.

Here are the top institutional investors of spot Bitcoin ETFs based on Q1 2024 13F filings.

10 Biggest Institutional Spot BTC ETF Holders?

1. Millennium Management – $1.95 billion

Millennium Management is a New York-headquartered investment management firm with over $64 billion in assets under management. The firm seeks to pursue diverse investment strategies spanning across various asset classes, geographies and industries.

Millennium’s total exposure stood at about $1.95 billion at the end of Q1 2024 making it the biggest known holder of spot Bitcoin ETFs.

According to the firm’s 13F filing, Millennium’s spot BTC was spread across Blackrock’s IBIT ($844.1 million), Fidelity’s FBTC ($806.6 million), Grayscale’s GBTC ($202 million), Ark Invest’s ARKB ($45 million) and Bitwise’s BITB ($44.7 million).

When asked why fund managers spread their investment across multiple ETFs that track the same underlying asset, Eric Balchunas, Senior ETF Analyst at Bloomberg said:

“Case by case but spread out the trading to reduce impact, being noticed or maybe have limits.”

2. Susquehanna International Group – $1.24 billion

Susquehanna International Group (SIG) is a Philadelphia-headquartered quantitative trading firm. SIG’s business units include institutional brokerage, venture capital funds, private equity funds, sport analytics and structured equity investments.

At the end of the first quarter of 2024, SIG’s spot Bitcoin ETF holding stood at about $1.24 billion.

According to the company’s 13F filing, SIG held spot Bitcoin ETFs positions in all available spot Bitcoin ETFs except Hashdex’s DEFI. SIG’s biggest position was in Grayscale’s GBTC at $1.09 billion.

SIG also held Fidelity’s FBTC ($83.7 million), Ark Invest’s ARKB ($36.1 million), BlackRock’s IBIT ($23.6 million), Bitwise’s BITW ($21.7 million), VanEck’s HODL ($20.6 million), WisdomTree’s BTCW ($19.3 million), Franklin Templeton’s EZBC ($14.3 million), Invesco’s BTCO ($11.8 million) and Valkyrie’s BRRR ($3.9 million).

SIG also had indirect exposure to Bitcoin via its shareholding in Nasdaq-listed tech firm MicroStrategy.

3. Bracebridge Capital -– $434 million

Bracebridge Capital is a Boston-based investment management firm that pursues an absolute return strategy. Absolute return strategy funds seek returns uncorrelated with benchmark indices.

The firm manages private investment funds that serve endowments, foundations, pension funds and high-net-worth investors. Bracebridge Capital is reported to manage endowment funds of Yale University and Princeton University.

13F filing showed Bracebridge Capital held $307.2 million in ARKB, $26.5 million in GBTC and $100.6 million in IBIT, allocating a total of $434.3 million to spot Bitcoin ETFs in Q1 2024.

4. Boothbay Fund Management – $376 million

Boothbay Fund Management is an multi-strategy investment manager that seeks low correlation to traditional asset classes. The company is headquartered in New York.

13F filing showed Boothbay held about $376.6 million in spot Bitcoin ETFs across BlackRock’s IBIT ($149.8 million), Fidelity’s FBTC ($105.5 million), Grayscale’s GBTC ($69.5 million) and Bitwise’s BITB ($52.3 million).

5. Morgan Stanley – $271 million

Morgan Stanley is a New York-listed multinational investment bank that was founded in 1935. According to Fortune, Morgan Stanley was ranked 61st in the list of largest US corporations by total revenue in 2023.

The bank provides investment management and wealth management services. As of March 31, 2024, Morgan Stanley had $7 trillion of client assets under management.

13F filing showed Morgan Stanley held over $271 million in spot Bitcoin ETFs. The investment bank held $2.25 million in Ark Invest’s ARKB and $269.7 million in Grayscale’s GBTC at the end of Q1 2024.

6. Pine Ridge Advisers – $205 million

Pine Ridge Advisors is a multi-family office based in New York. According to founder Baldo Fodera, Pine Ridge Advisors maintains a limited number of clients and delivers wealth management advisory services to ultra-high-net-worth clients.

13F filing showed Pine Ridge held $29.3 million in BITW, $93.4 million in FBTC and $83.2 million in IBIT, allocating a total of $205.9 million to spot Bitcoin ETFs in Q1 2024.

“Likely some kind of arb (Arbitrage) trade tho vs say an RIA (Registered Investment Advisor) putting 1/4 of grandma’s portfolio in btc,” said Balchunas.

7. Aristeia Capital – $163 million

Aristeia Capital is an alternative asset investment manager that seeks to produce absolute returns  through relative value investment strategies. The company is primarily focused in the corporate credit markets.

The company was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut.

13F filing showed Aristeia invested $163.5 million in BlackRock’s IBIT spot Bitcoin ETF in Q1 2024.

8. State of Wisconsin Investment Board – $162 million

In one of the most significant disclosures regarding spot Bitcoin ETFs, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) revealed that it invested over $162 million of retirement and state funds in Bitcoin. SWIB held $99.2 million of IBIT and $63.7 million in GBTC in Q1 2024.

The largest portion of funds (89%) that SWIB manages comes from the Wisconsin Retirement System, which is one of the largest pension funds in the US. SWIB also manages Wisconsin’s State Investment Fund which is a pool of cash balances of various state and local governmental units.

“Normally you don’t get these big fish institutions in the 13Fs for a year or so (when the ETF gets more liquidity) but as we’ve seen these are no ordinary launches. Good sign, expect more, as institutions tend to move in herds,” tweeted Balchunas.

9. Hightower Advisors – $55.9 million

Hightower Advisors is a Chicago-based wealth management firm that held $142.1 billion in assets under management at the end of 2023. The company was founded in 2008.

The firm provides investment, financial and retirement planning services to individuals, foundations and family offices.

13F filing showed Hightower held about $55.9 million in spot Bitcoin ETFs across Grayscale’s GBTC ($44.8 million), BlackRock’s IBIT ($7.6 million), Ark Invest’s ARKB ($1.7 million), Bitwise’s BITW ($988K) and Fidelity’s FBTC ($788K).

10. Hunting Hill Global Capital – $50.4 million

Hunting Hill Global Capital is a New York-based investment management firm that seeks arbitrage opportunities in the market.

The company’s 13F filing showed Hunting Hill Global Capital held over $50.4 million in spot Bitcoin ETFs across Grayscale’s GBTC ($21.3 million) and Fidelity’s FBTC ($29.1 million).

The Bottom Line

The reception that spot crypto ETFs received from institutional investors in the U.S. has been surprisingly positive. According to Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan there is more to come as most investment houses have invested less than 1% of their portfolio into Bitcoin in the first quarter of 2024.

Hougan suggested that six months after initial allocation, firms will begin allocating across their entire books of clients.

Either way, extra markets have been unlocked for Bitcoin, and the demand is there.

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Mensholong Lepcha
Crypto & Blockchain Writer
Mensholong Lepcha
Crypto & Blockchain Writer

Mensholong is an experienced crypto and blockchain journalist, now a full-time writer at Techopedia. He has previously contributed news coverage and in-depth market analysis to Capital.com, StockTwits, XBO, and other publications. He started his writing career at Reuters in 2017, covering global equity markets. In his free time, Mensholong loves watching football, finding new music, and buying BTC and ETH for his crypto portfolio.