BlackRock Pacing to Overtake MicroStrategy as World’s Largest Bitcoin Holder by Summer

MicroStrategy had a head start of 190,000 Bitcoin, but BlackRock is eating up the coin

By: André Beganski

February 13, 2024

Look out, MicroStrategy. Here comes BlackRock.

The world’s largest asset manager is raking in Bitcoin at an increased pace for its newly-listed spot ETF — with no signs of slowing down. Between Friday and Monday, BlackRock’s Bitcoin holdings for its ETF jumped 8% alone, doubling a 4% clip for the same period a week prior. 

Out of the gate, BlackRock’s Bitcoin-focussed offering has outshined other ETFs in terms of net inflows, including those from Fidelity and Ark Invest. Since spot Bitcoin ETFs debuted a month ago, BlackRock has accumulated more than 95,276 Bitcoin for its iShares Bitcoin Trust that's worth $4.7 billion, as of this writing.

While the two firms hold Bitcoin for different reasons, BlackRock’s Bitcoin stash already represents half that of MicroStrategy’s — the world’s largest public Bitcoin holder. BlackRock holds Bitcoin solely for its ETF’s backing, while MicroStrategy has embraced the coin as a treasury reserve asset. According to a model from Coinage, BlackRock could overtake MicroStrategy as early as late May.

“It will happen,” eventually, said Bloomberg Intelligence ETF Analyst Eric Balchunas on X, acknowledging that BlackRock should someday become the world’s largest Bitcoin holder.

Since MicroStrategy began buying Bitcoin in 2020, the software firm has amassed 190,000 Bitcoin worth $9.2 billion under the leadership of Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Michael Saylor. Last week, he announced that MicroStrategy had bought another $37 million in Bitcoin January on X, continuing to highlight the firm’s seemingly sporadic purchases.

The purchase was made with excess cash the firm had as 2023 came to a end, Andrew Kang, MicroStrategy’s senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, said during the company’s most recent earnings call. In the fourth quarter of 2023, he said that 31,000 Bitcoin acquired by the firm marked MicroStrategy's biggest buying spree since the same quarter in 2020.

Over the past couple of years, MicroStrategy’s stock has been viewed as a proxy for Bitcoin exposure on Wall Street. And Saylor’s focus on Bitcoin has paid off as Crypto Winter thaws. MicroStrategy's stock has surged 178% over the past year to $692 per share, as of this writing, outpacing Bitcoin’s 130% climb from around $22,000.

Yet with the launch of spot Bitcoin ETFs, institutional investors that are limited to holding securities have a plethora of options to choose from, including BlackRock’s ETF. On said earnings call, Saylor described the launch of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. is a key development for Bitcoin as an asset — a tide that could shift investors’ overall makeup.

“I think the approval of the spot ETPs marked an inflection point in the history of Bitcoin," Saylor said, adding it "demarcates the era of retail, offshore, unregulated crypto adoption" from an era of “onshore, regulated, institutional Bitcoin adoption by the mainstream investors.”

Among mainstream investors, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink could be considered one of the world’s most influential. And while he infamously called Bitcoin an “index of money laundering” in 2017, Fink has recently turned the page, saying Bitcoin could possibly protect investors against governments devaluing their currencies in January.

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