Legitimizing Bitcoin Investment with Crypto Access Products

Published on
October 22nd, 2019
27 minutes

Legitimizing Bitcoin Investment with Crypto Access Products

The Expert View ·
Featuring Michael Sonnenshein

Published on: October 22nd, 2019 • Duration: 27 minutes

Michael Sonnenshein, managing director at Grayscale Investments, first entered the bitcoin space 6 years ago when he met Barry Silbert. Since then, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has ballooned to almost $2 billion in net asset value. Sonnenshein explains how the rise of bitcoin access products like GBTC have helped legitimize investment in the asset class and opened up the space to a new crop of bitcoin bulls. He also touches on generational wealth transfer as an extremely underappreciated aspect of the debate between bitcoin and gold. Filmed on October 8, 2019 in New York.



  • MS
    Michael S.
    13 February 2020 @ 11:37
    Btc bigger bubble than spy
    • Md
      Matthew d.
      13 June 2020 @ 20:41
      This comment will not age well. Also, if you’re going to comment, try and back it up with a well thought out, objective opinion (just my 2c)
  • SS
    Shanthi S.
    22 October 2019 @ 09:05
    Interesting infomercial, but what’s with all the gold dissing and spurious claims? Hardly helps your cause. :/
    • JM
      John M.
      24 October 2019 @ 17:18
      I wish someone would respond to my comment about bitcoins being lost. Apparently some bitcoins are lost each year. They can never be retrieved so effectively there aren't 21 million. Yes in the short run this makes it more scarce & Bitcoin is volatile so maybe depending on your investment horizon this is irrelevant. But for those who believe Bitcoin is The Future and replaces gold what happens over several decades as more and more bitcoin are lost. At some point scarcity - irrelevance, no?
    • JB
      James B.
      25 October 2019 @ 05:14
      @John M. Each bitcoin can be subdivided into 100 million pieces called Satoshis so 21 million bitcoins is 2,100 trillion Satoshis.
    • JM
      John M.
      25 October 2019 @ 06:09
      OK James, I get it. Thanks.
    • DK
      David K.
      8 March 2020 @ 04:48
      What happens if your gold gets lost? It too is gone.
  • EH
    Edward H.
    24 October 2019 @ 19:35
    I just don't think people understand math. With paper at least there is a physical limit to the amount of mass on the planet to print on. With crypos there is ZERO limit to the amount of math that can be used to construct these things. Witness all the bitcoin forks, hard branches, alt coins, etc., etc. If everyone can magically believe in JUST ONE crypto (bitcoin) and ignore all the rest, I suppose its possible it can be like its own fiat as long as everyone trusts in it and there are no defections from it. With the above said, please pass me some physical gold.
    • TR
      Tristan R.
      6 November 2019 @ 14:52
      There is already tokienized gold and any digital asset on a blockchain can't be just printed out of thin air because all the computers which run the network know at all times how many assets there are on the chain, so it's nearly impossible to just print more bitcoin or any other digital asset without having the whole network know about it. That's the blockchain revolution.
  • dd
    david d.
    22 October 2019 @ 11:09
    stop the shitcoin propaganda RV !!!
    • NI
      Nate I.
      24 October 2019 @ 03:54
      David, it's important to constantly challenge your assumptions. I'm a gold person and I don't own BTC, but I'm watching this RV series on BTC to see if someone can shake my confidence or disprove my assumptions. BTC is real and RV would be remiss if they failed to cover it. Plan-B gave me something to cogitate on that I had not previously considered and I'm thankful to RV and Raoul for making that information available. I'm not ready to run out and buy BTC, but this series has me double checking my previous assumptions.
    • MK
      Michael K.
      27 October 2019 @ 00:13
      Great balanced comment Nate. A closed might might as well be dead already.
  • AT
    Andrea T.
    25 October 2019 @ 20:27
    Why get bitcoin exposure when you can just get bitcoin?
  • JF
    Joseph F.
    23 October 2019 @ 15:55
    BTC/USD -500.55 -6.29% Oct 23/19. HODL, LOL.
    • RV
      Ryan V.
      23 October 2019 @ 16:55
      If it closes below $16,000 on October 31 at midnight you’re gonna see the power of meme selling.
    • RV
      Ryan V.
      23 October 2019 @ 17:03
      Meanwhile the coin of the “4th industrial revolution” grinds higher in satoshis and market cap spots every time bitcoin dumps. Slow and steady
    • AW
      Adam W.
      25 October 2019 @ 17:47
      Oct 25th +15%
  • JL
    James L.
    24 October 2019 @ 04:55
    lol, so many crybabies in here. i love it
  • BP
    Bryce P.
    22 October 2019 @ 17:42
    Gold has always been the HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP and ALWAYS will be. Cryptos, bitcoin, prisonchain (I mean blockchain) or whatever scheme you want to call it will prove to be the most repressive monetary scheme in the history of mankind. It's a shame all these supposed free market guys cannot see this aspect or even discuss it for that matter. While the dollar system is repressive too; the fact remains that physical cash dollars are still a freer system than this crypto garbage. There is a reason they want to eliminate physical cash and that's because it's a form of freedom. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! WAKE UP!!!!
    • SA
      Sanne A.
      23 October 2019 @ 14:30
      Get out of the cave, flinch your eyes and open up. There is a whole new world out there, including privacy. Own both.
    • RV
      Ryan V.
      23 October 2019 @ 16:47
      Bitcoin is only private in the sense the layman can’t see who is doing these transactions. It’s trivial for governments and law enforcement to pierce the pseudo anonymity bitcoin provides. See:the latest busts. Bitcoin was the reason they all got caught. I know monero is private. So why own bitcoin at all?
  • GC
    Gino C.
    22 October 2019 @ 10:45
    What’s with RV’s OBSESSION. With Bitcoin??!!
    • AB
      Alberto B.
      23 October 2019 @ 10:49
      It's the future.
  • DR
    David R.
    23 October 2019 @ 08:23
    I've read & heard a few comments about younger people aligned to just crypto and I beg to differ . I've recently had three conversations with young adults ranging from 18 to 21 about investing in the ''alternative currency space '' and it was far from crypto centric. I have 30 years of trading experience hence them asking me , I didn't direct the conversation just listened to their thoughts initially and basically they are all very aware of silver , gold and crypto and I think reflective of how they invest and will invest .
  • RO
    Robert O.
    23 October 2019 @ 05:00
    They appear to be building a digital casino. The big investors in the casino will win while the retail investors will mostly lose.
  • CC
    Carlos C.
    23 October 2019 @ 03:12
    This is criminal!!! Sell BTC at market prices to wealthy investors so they can resell it at a massive premium to retail schmucks. I don’t know how this guy can sleep at night.
  • GB
    Gary B.
    23 October 2019 @ 01:11
    I've got ten different colors of tulips. Which color would you like?
  • WB
    William B.
    22 October 2019 @ 22:18
    Enough with the bitcoin already.
  • RM
    Robert M.
    22 October 2019 @ 22:17
    RV has beaten bitcoin to death over the last week and half. Don’t need this many videos to explore this one asset class.
  • TC
    Thomas C.
    22 October 2019 @ 20:09
    One of the first RV videos I choose to cut short. Non objective, self promoting and just plain annoying to listen to
  • RV
    Ryan V.
    22 October 2019 @ 18:25
    Doesn’t paying someone a 2% management fee to hold your bitcoin entirely defeat the purpose of owning bitcoin? The fact that it’s held in a trust just slams the point home that bitcoins last and only use case is speculation.
  • RW
    Ryan W.
    22 October 2019 @ 17:51
    I've held some GBTC for a long time. It's not paid off like GLD, but remain hopeful for the long term. But I've failed at uranium investments over the long term too and "hopeful" is not a strategy. I hate averaging down. Still, this video was a nice description of what they are trying to do and affirms why I was interested in the first place. I love that RealVision has made the effort to cover the breadth of the market. Nothing in this video would make me rethink gold allocations, just as I don't think gold replaces equity markets, which is of course not the purpose of gold. If we have not educated our children about the difference between trading and investing or the role of various asset classes, then we have failed them. I can only hope that my heirs can filter out the rampant product marketing phrases in all these crypto segments. Maybe not "only", as I can also dictate asset allocations in their trusts :D.
  • sc
    sung c.
    22 October 2019 @ 17:13
    I am a Baby Boomer but I can definitely see the space of BTC and other cryptos growing stronger with GenX, Millennials, etc in the changing world ahead. Especially as 5G starts to roll out throughout the world, it will drive the acceptance and use of BTC more and more. I can certainly understand how a young person who receives gold as an inheritance, might convert some of the gold into BTC and other cryptos. I don't see them receiving cryptos and BTC and converting that into gold, 1) because the baby boomers and won't be transferring BTC and cryptos to them, and 2) because this younger generation is getting very comfortable with the idea of holding and working with digital everything. A recent study showed that only 10% of baby boomers were likely to look into cryptocurrencies, while 35-45% of millenials stated they would consider owning cryptos in the future.
  • CT
    Crispim T.
    22 October 2019 @ 06:41
    BTC is unstoppable and the best investment for the next decade (just like it was the last 10 years now - no reason for the next run to be different at all). Excellent seeing more Bitcoin content here.
    • AW
      Aaron W.
      22 October 2019 @ 06:46
      Because what goes up for 10 years must continue. Like Wachovia. Washington Mutual. Bear Stearns. The Bolivar. Weimar Notgeld.
    • CB
      Clifford B.
      22 October 2019 @ 11:20
      Exactly. Seeing many assumptions also about the price increasing due to next years supply halving. How is this a guarantee that money will flow into it?
    • Bv
      Berend v.
      22 October 2019 @ 15:24
      Except a western-world ban for onramps / offramps. Bitcoin will be fine, but your speculative investment will get absolutely wrecked. In those moments, gold will shine very bright and tempting. I love Bitcoin, but please, no Ripple-like statements. I think it works averse in trying to convince people.
  • AM
    Alonso M.
    22 October 2019 @ 14:47
    So let me get this straight. Gold may not last the test of time as a store of value even though it's been an effective store of value for something like 6000 years. But somehow bitcoin is going to last the test of time because it's been around for something like 10 years. I am not a bit coin hater. But when I hear 'this time is different' comments from someone who might be younger than some of my underwear and is obviously just promoting his company's ETF, it's hard to take the interview seriously. Can we please move forward from the bitcoin promoters and start talking about economics and financial markets? This interview sucked.
  • AK
    Ado K.
    22 October 2019 @ 09:32
    I would say that the fact that gold does not track with millennial's is wrong since millennial's will change their preferences with age. I am a millennial and prefer Bitcoin but I like gold as well, I just think that the younger generation does not understand money all to well in general. Gold does not require continued investment of electricity to maintain its existence, gold has been battle tested for thousands of years, and cant have its function-ability distributed through 51 % attacks. These are golds advantages. Bitcoins advantages are that it is more fungible and portable, that it has a max supply cap that is known in advance, that it is programmable and can be incorporated into other electronic services and that it scores higher as an unconfiscatable asset class across space. Any rational person who does not have a strong mental aversion due to bias or cognitive dissidence, would rationally say I want to own both Bitcoin and Gold. Where they might differ is in the percentage allocation between the two. I choose 90 % BTC 10 % gold simply because I think BTC has higher return ability due to smaller market cap, and I am young and have along time horizon. A older person might choose another allocation based on a shorter time horizon, that is perfectly natural. Grayscales method of putting gold against Bitcoin feels like a bad marketing strategy honestly.
    • CT
      Crispim T.
      22 October 2019 @ 09:36
      Gold requires huge amounts of money go move and secure properly. And can be easily confiscated and faked. It's a much harder investment. You can buy paper gold, but yeah, if I want paper I'll just keep fiat. BTC is fully owned by you, fully auditable, easily moved, impossible to counterfeit. Putting gold against BTC makes all sense to me because BTC is finally something that goes beyond gold. And it is starting to erode its market cap. We're only just starting. Are you sure the big players won't be putting a lot of $ in BTC vs gold once they start to understand it or find better advisors? Wouldn't bet on that.
    • SS
      Shanthi S.
      22 October 2019 @ 10:44
  • AW
    Aaron W.
    22 October 2019 @ 06:43
    GBTC constant premium to Net Asset Value, along with its massive trading volumes, provides nearly a risk-free opportunity for sophisticated institutions to sell GBTC short and buy long physical or futures, de facto taxing retail investors by capturing a rich statistical arbitrage which is far beyond anything found in traditional investment markets. This financial activity creates a flywheel effect which benefits Barry Silbert's colleagues in a variety of ways... just an excerpt of the full critique by Roy Sebag.
    • CT
      Crispim T.
      22 October 2019 @ 08:48
      Comparing private companies to Bitcoin makes no sense R S. You seem to have a normalcy bias issue regarding the traditional markets and gold. And a deeply flawed understanding of the technical, financial and social aspects of BTC. Which is fine and still happening with a lot of investors. You can short it in several ways if you think the next decade will be any different, but good luck betting against BTC at this stage. The Sharpe ratio anyone CRUSHED everything else the past decade. Everything. There is no better investment in the current scenario.
    • AK
      Ado K.
      22 October 2019 @ 09:08
      Of course Roy did also say Bitcoin will die due to the regression theory of money, not being aware of that the regression theory in Austrian terms has no bearing what so ever once Bitcoin has established a price. Sometimes the dumbest things people say can be wrapped in the most elegant of rhetoric, that is pretty much how I would summarize Roy Sebag.
    • AW
      Aaron W.
      22 October 2019 @ 09:52
      My comment wasn't about bitcoin, it was about Grayscale and its financial interests in GBTC's premium to NAV.