By May 15, large financial firms with more than $100 million in assets under management were required to report the assets they had under management at the end of the first quarter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Since Bitcoin spot ETFs were approved in the US earlier this year, this is the first time they have been included in these 13F filings. As a result of these reports, it is now known which banks and asset managers or fund managers held the Bitcoin ETFs as at March 31, 2024.

Form 13F Report

The report on assets under management is known as the Form 13F report. Most financial companies file the report as late as possible in order to prevent the competition from gaining an insight into their portfolio for as long as possible. The deadline for 13F filings is 45 days after the end of the quarter, in this case May 15, 2024.

The companies that have to report their managed portfolios are large fund managers and banks. Accordingly, the positions disclosed are the investments they hold in the course of their business or on behalf of their clients. Accordingly, the number of shares can also change daily, so the snapshot of assets under management as of March 31, 2024 is not necessarily meaningful more than a month later - especially given the initial interest in the new ETF class, which has now waned somewhat.

Among the financial service providers are also the companies that act as market makers and/or "authorized participants" (AP) for the Bitcoin ETF issuers. The Bitcoin holdings reported by them therefore provide little information about the institutional adoption of the asset class.

In addition, the report does not take into account short sales or derivatives, which are often used to generate large parts of the profits. Only long positions, put and call options, convertible bonds and ADRs (American Depositary Receipts) have to be reported. It is therefore also possible that the long positions are only held as a hedge for short sales. The report therefore does not reflect the actual exposure of the companies on the reporting date.

The SEC itself has recognized the problems of unreliability of the data and noted that market observers should not assume that the information provided is "accurate and complete". There is also no mandatory review body for the data.

Bitcoin FOMO of financial service providers?

Some 𝕏 accounts portrayed the reported figures as if financial institutions were now all pouncing on Bitcoin, although in many cases this was not entirely true. Established news services also made little to no mention of the reports, which makes it clear that in most cases they were cooked hotter than they were eaten on "Bitcoin Twitter".

The fact that Wells Fargo only holds a relatively small stake of just under USD 142,000 in GBTC shares was again not part of the reporting.

Much attention was also paid to the alleged Bitcoin ETF purchases by the world's largest bank, JPMorgan. As CEO Jamie Dimon has often made extremely negative comments about Bitcoin in the past, his bank is now said to have purchased Bitcoin ETF shares worth USD 760,000, which caused laughter on "Bitcoin Twitter". Many reporters presented it as if JPMorgan had bought the shares for its own company balance sheet.

However, the fact that JPMorgan did not buy Bitcoin ETFs for its own balance sheet can easily be seen in the official quarterly report on the major bank's operating business. Moreover, the major news agencies would certainly have picked up on this news.

In all likelihood, JPMorgan only acquired the ETF shares in its function as a market maker or AP. Reputable analysts such as Eric Balchunas and James Seyffart also suspect this.

The fact that JPMorgan is a market maker and "2nd AP" of Fidelity, Invesco/Galaxy and BlackRock should have been known to most market observers on "Bitcoin Twitter". Presumably, they have deliberately concealed this, as a news item probably clicks better if it says that JPMorgan is now investing in Bitcoin ETFs.

Nevertheless, it is hypocritical that JPMorgan CEO Dimon emphasized in 2017 that he would fire all employees who trade in Bitcoin for "stupidity". Now his firm is trading the asset itself.

However, the reports on JPMorgan's 13F filing suggested more than was ultimately behind it. This was also made clear by the lack of reaction from the Bitcoin price and the fact that no serious media picked up on the news.

The same applies to the 13F report from trading firm Susquehanna, which according to the filing held USD 1.3 billion in Bitcoin ETFs as at the reporting date. According to ETF expert James Seyffart, however, this exposure is also due to its activity as a market maker or AP.

The relevant messages

However, there are also significant reports regarding the 13F filings. For example, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) was the first state pension fund in the USA to buy Bitcoin ETFs - reported. SWIB announced that it held 163 million US dollars worth of Bitcoin. This is likely to have a major signal effect, even though Bitcoin ETFs only make up around 0.1 percent of the total portfolio. According to ETF expert Balchunas, other pension funds, which together manage around USD 27 trillion, could now be forced into action.

Pine Ridge Advisers, a registered investment advisor (RIA), also announced that it holds USD 205 million in Bitcoin spot ETFs. Notably, the ETFs accounted for just under a quarter of the portfolio, but Balchunas assumed this was simply due to an arbitrage trade.

Another conspicuous buyer was the Boston-based hedge fund Bracebridge Capital. It reported holding USD 434.4 million in Bitcoin ETFs. With USD 307 million in Ark Invest's Bitcoin ETF and USD 100 million in BlackRock's, the hedge fund is one of the largest holders of the two ETFs. Bracebridge Capital counts a group of institutional investors such as the endowments of Yale University and Princeton University among its clients.

But on the afternoon of May 15, Boothbay Fund Management took the stage. The New York hedge fund reported Bitcoin ETF positions of over 375 million US dollars. With a position of just under USD 150 million in BlackRock's IBIT alone, Boothbay overtook the largest holder of this ETF to date.

In the evening, fund manager Millennium Management also announced its figures. With around 2 billion US dollars in reported Bitcoin ETF holdings, this announcement caused quite a stir. Millennium Management reported holding $844 million worth of IBIT shares, eclipsing the previous two largest holders. The hedge fund company is also the largest holder of the Fidelity ETF (USD 806 million) and the Bitwise ETF (USD 44.7 million).

The news suggests that institutional interest in Bitcoin ETFs is huge and that it was not retail investors who drove the strong ETF inflows, as Bloomberg expert James Seyffart's sarcastic comment makes clear.

The Bitcoin ETF holders

The launch of Bitcoin ETFs was a great success. Since admission, the investment products have recorded net inflows of more than USD 11.8 billion. Accordingly, it stands to reason that a large proportion of the purchases are attributable to institutional investors who, for the first time since January 11, 2024, have been able to invest in a security that is backed by Bitcoin and able to track the price on a one-to-one basis via the structures they are familiar with.

The eleven investment products currently manage a total of around USD 52.7 billion. BlackRock's ETF and Grayscale's investment product, which was converted from a closed-end trust into a spot ETF, top the list. BlackRock alone has bought 274,800 Bitcoin worth more than USD 15.5 billion on behalf of clients since the Bitcoin ETFs were approved. These customers also include banks and fund managers, who in turn have enabled their customers to buy the ETFs - for example via their own broker platform.

Given these sums, it is interesting to know how many institutional clients have invested in the ETFs. According to information from Bloomberg, more than 330 companies have bought shares in the BlackRock ETF ($IBIT) to date. According to the news agency, more than 50 institutions have bought the ETF from Ark Invest ($ARKB). The number of clients is very impressive, Balchunas noted.

Many Bitcoin ETF issuers also own a sizable percentage of their own ETFs. Market observer Julian Fahrer has noted that many Bitcoin ETF issuers hold the largest position of their ETFs themselves so far - with the exception of BlackRock, ARK and Invesco. For example, while VanEck owns $85 million worth of its own BTC ETF ($HODL), BlackRock has reported only $6.5 million worth of its own $IBIT holdings. ARK itself owns $ARKB shares worth a total of 206.5 million US dollars. Invesco has no $BTCO shares of its own, only shares in the Grayscale ETF.

The following (incomplete) list shows the positions of some financial companies as at March 31, 2024:

List of Bitcoin ETF holders

(ETF shares and value according to SEC filings as at the reporting date of 31.03.2024)

  • Millennium Management - BTC ETF shares totaling approximately $2 billion (3% of the $64 billion fund); top IBIT holder with 20,859,447 shares worth more than $844 million; 634.000 ARK shares for USD 45 million; top BITB holder with 1,155,717 shares worth USD 44.7 million; 3,198,194 GBTC shares for USD 202 million; top FBTC holder with 12,997,749 shares for more than USD 806 million

  • Susquehanna International Group - bought more than USD 1.3 billion worth of BTC ETF shares in the first quarter of 2024; top GBTC holder with approximately 17.3 million shares: USD 1.09 billion; 583,049 IBIT shares: USD 23.6 million; 1,349,414 FBTC shares: USD 83.7 million; 508.824 ARKB shares: USD 36.1 million; 560,832 BITB shares: USD 21.7 million; 256,354 HODL shares: USD 20.6 million; top BRR holder with 192,391 shares: USD 3.8 million; top BTCO holder with 166,200 shares: USD 11.8 million; 347,318 EZBC shares: USD 14.3 million; top BTCW holder with 255,814 shares: USD 19.3 million

  • Bracebridge Capital - BTC ETF shares worth a total of USD 434.3 million; top ARKB holder with 4,327,380 shares worth approximately USD 307.2 million; 2,486,750 IBIT shares for USD 100.6 million; fourth largest holder of GBTC with 419,910 shares for USD 26.5 million

  • Boothbay Fund Management - BTC ETF shares totaling USD 377 million; top BITW holder with 1,350,000 shares for USD 52.2 million; 1,700,000 FBTC shares for USD 105.5 million; 1,100,000 GBTC shares for USD 69.5 million; 3,701,600 IBIT shares for USD 149.8 million

  • Morgan Stanley - sixth largest bank in the US; BTC ETF shares totaling more than USD 272.1 million; 31,712 ARK shares for USD 2.25 million; 4,272,139 GBTC shares worth almost USD 269.87 million

  • ARK Investment Management - a total of 2,909,018 ARKB shares worth USD 206.5 million

  • State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) - the US state pension fund purchased BTC ETF shares worth a total of almost USD 163 million in the first quarter of 2024; 2,450,400 IBIT shares worth approximately USD 99.2 million; 1,013,000 GBTC shares worth approximately USD 63.7 million

  • CRCM - 2,388,715 IBIT units valued at more than USD 96.67 million

  • Discovery Capital Management - 1,396,017 GBTC shares worth just under USD 88.19 million

  • Multicoin Capital - 1,321,808 GBTC shares worth around USD 83.5 million, making it the second-largest GBTC holder

  • Rubric Capital Management - 1,722,497 IBIT shares worth USD 69.7 million

  • Hightower Advisors - BTC ETF shares worth just under USD 68.35 million; 23,964 ARK shares for more than USD 1.7 million; 25,449 BITB shares for USD 988,000; 200,084 FBTC shares for USD 12.41 million; 19,129 EZBC shares for USD 788,000; 709,956 GBTC shares for just under USD 44.84 million; 188,397 IBIT shares for USD 7.62 million

  • LPL Financial - BTC ETF shares worth a total of USD 64.15 million; 33,646 ARK shares for just under USD 2.4 million; a total of 962,234 GBTC shares for USD 60.78 million; 23,958 IBIT shares for just under USD 970,000

  • Envestnet (US fintech/asset manager) - BTC ETF shares worth a total of around USD 62.1 million; 682,391 FBTC shares worth more than USD 42.3 million; 57,514 ARKB shares worth just under USD 4.1 million; 76,081 IBIT shares worth just under USD 3.1 million; 168,151 GBTC shares worth more than USD 10.6 million; 50,628 BITB shares worth just under USD 2 million

  • Symmetry Investments - 1,519,700 IBIT shares worth 61.5 million US dollars

  • Yong Rong HK Asset Management Ltd - 1,127,561 IBIT shares worth 45.63 million US dollars

  • Cambridge Investment Research - BTC ETF shares worth a total of USD 39.81 million; 26,819 ARK shares for USD 1.9 million; 67,015 BITB shares for just under USD 2.6 million; 33,891 FBTC shares for USD 2.1 million; 341,473 GBTC shares for USD 21.6 million; 5,885 BTCO shares for USD 418,000; 276,214 IBIT shares for USD 11.2 million

  • Franklin Templeton - 560,000 shares of its own Bitcoin ETF $EZBC worth more than USD 23 million (thus top EZBC holder)

  • Other companies with IBIT shares (descending): CTC Alternative Strategies Ltd (685,364 shares); Monolith Management Ltd (603,300 shares); Qualtro Financial Advisors LLC; IvyRock Asset Management HK; Context Capital Management and Ethos Financial Group (350,460 shares valued at $14.18 million); Regal Partners (119,600 IBIT shares valued at $4.3 million)

  • US Bancorp - fifth largest bank in the US; BTC ETF shares valued at more than USD 15.5 million; 178,567 FBTC shares valued at USD 7.2 million; 87,744 IBIT shares valued at USD 5.4 million; 46,011 GBTC shares valued at USD 2.9 million

  • Cyndeo Wealth Partners - BTC ETF shares worth a total of USD 10.5 million; 103,306 ARK shares worth more than USD 7.3 million; 51,411 GBTC shares worth more than USD 3.2 million

  • PNC Bank - eighth largest bank in the US; BTC ETF shares worth a total of USD 10 million (spread across six ETFs)

  • Dakota Wealth Management - BTC ETF shares worth a total of more than USD 8.1 million; 62,666 ARK shares worth more than USD 4.4 million; 37,708 FBTC shares for USD 2.34 million; 17,259 GBTC shares worth just under USD 1.1 million; 6,787 IBIT shares for just under USD 275,000

  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) - BTC ETF shares worth a total of USD 7.2 million (IBIT + GBTC)

  • Kestra Private Wealth Services - BTC ETF shares worth a total of more than USD 6.9 million; 20,278 ARK shares for around USD 1.44 million; 66,478 GBTC shares for around USD 4.2 million; 24,844 IBIT shares for more than USD 1 million; 4,135 BTCO shares for just under USD 294,000

  • Bank of Montreal, Canada's fourth largest bank - BTC ETF shares worth more than USD 6.3 million; a total of 9778 FBTC shares worth almost USD 609,000; 8795 EZBC shares worth USD 357,000; 133,612 IBIT shares worth more than USD 5.3 million, 10,081 GBTC shares worth more than USD 65,400

  • Edmond De Rothschild Holding SA - BTC ETF shares worth more than USD 4.2 million; 103,600 IBIT shares worth USD 4.2 million; 1,300 GBTC shares worth USD 82,121

  • NKCFO - BTC ETF shares worth a total of USD 3.6 million; 38,000 ARK shares for USD 2.7 million; 15,000 FBTC shares for USD 931,000

  • Royal Bank of Canada - BTC ETF shares totaling around USD 1.69 million; 19,497 GBTC shares for USD 1.23 million; 10,993 IBIT shares for USD 445,000; 147 HODL shares for USD 12,000

  • JPMorgan - largest bank in the USA; "2nd AP" of Fidelity, Invesco/Galaxy and BlackRock; BTC ETF shares worth a total of around USD 760,000; a total of 11,797 IBIT shares worth USD 477,425; 16 FBTC shares for USD 1,043; 6,530 BITB shares for just under USD 253,000; 40 GBTC shares worth USD 2,000

  • Wells Fargo - third largest bank in the USA; 2,245 GBTC shares worth 141,817 US dollars

  • Toronto Dominion Bank - second largest bank in Canada; 3,000 IBIT shares worth more than 120,000 US dollars
  • BNP Paribas - second largest bank in Europe; 1,030 IBIT shares worth USD 41,684

  • TRUIST Financial Corp - a total of 30,258 GBTC shares worth around USD 1.9 million; 8,365 IBIT shares worth just under USD 340,000
  • Scotiabank - BTC ETF shares totaling almost USD 1.6 million; 8,266 FBTC shares worth almost USD 513,000; 7,701 GBTC shares worth more than USD 486,000; 14,340 IBIT shares worth more than USD 580,000
  • UBS Group AG - the largest bank in Switzerland; a total of 3600 IBIT shares worth just under 145,000 US dollars
  • American National Bank - 100 Ark shares for just under 7100 US dollars
  • National Bank of Canada - 135 IBIT shares (USD 4,662); 200 GBTC shares (USD 10,794)
  • MassMutual - 227 GBTC shares worth USD 14,340
  • VanEck - shares of its own BTC ETF ($HODL) worth USD 85 million = top HODL holder
  • BlackRock - 162,196 IBIT shares worth 6.56 million US dollars
  • Invesco - was the first ETF issuer not to own BTCO shares, but 29,835 GBTC shares worth just under $1.9 million
  • a complete list of 13F reports containing "bitcoin" (i.e. the Bitcoin Miner ETF or shares of companies with "Bitcoin" in their name (e.g. Bitcoin Depot) as well as futures products (e.g. ProShares Bitcoin Strategy) could also be included) can be found here