Israel's Altshuler Shaham Investment House has doubled its money after tipping $100 million into the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust late last year. It's the only Israeli institution kn to have invested this magnitude of funds into Bitcoin so far.
The news follows increasing institutional interest in Bitcoin internationally, with reports on March 7 that Chinese tech company Meitu had become the first Hong Kong-listed company to invest $40 million into cryptocurrencies, split between Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Israel's Globes publication reported that Altshuler Shaham acquired the GBTC shares in late 2020 when Bitcoin was trading around $21,000. Co-CEO, founder and co-owner Gilad Altshuler told the publication:
"The $100 million investment has become $200 million, and of the $200 million we have already sold about a third."
He added, "This is a new investment for us. It took a few months until we got all the relevant approvals and all the opinions that approved our investment in the field."
The Globes report stated the investment house currently holds around $150 million worth of the cryptocurrency — with Altshuler noting it may add more :
"It depends on the price. We were a little intimidated by the speed with which Bitcoin reached these prices, with its global market capitalization crossing the $1 trillion mark, and that worried us a bit."
Altshuler Shaham is one of the largest investment houses in Israel, managing around $51.5 billion in long term savings for retirement and pension funds as of the end of January. It's not the first time Altshuler Shaham has dabbled in cryptocurrency, with the firm reportedly taking positions in local initial coin offerings back in 2017.
It's subsidiary Altshuler Shaham Horizon is more actively involved in crypto investments and last week appointed Ilan Stark, who previously managed the trading and capital markets division of Israeli blockchain company Orbs, as its new CEO.
The $100 million was invested in BTC via the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust — which currently has around $31.4 billion in assets under management. Recently shares have been trading at a 15% discount to the underlying value of the Bitcoin held.
As of March 7, private placement offerings for GBTC shares were halted, however this is an occurrence that happens periodically.