Bitcoin-adjacent stocks surged on Thursday as the leading digital currency reclaimed $45,000—erasing its losses following several Bitcoin spot ETF approvals last month.

MicroStrategy (MSTR), the public software firm that holds 190,000 BTC, is up 12% on the day to $569 per share. Meanwhile, crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) is up 7.7% at $131, more than recovering from its dip earlier this week.


Bitcoin mining firms like CleanSpark (CLSK) and Marathon Digital (MARA) have also surged, with the former up 24% since last week, and the latter gaining 16% on Thursday alone.

Public crypto companies have historically traded like extra volatile proxies for Bitcoin, making today’s market movements somewhat expected. However, their performance is a promising sign that such companies can still keep pace with BTC – even when faced with competition from now-public Bitcoin spot ETFs.

Launched on January 11, spot ETFs like BlackRock’s and Fidelity’s are designed to track Bitcoin’s price by directly backing their shares with BTC. For investment purposes, it's more or less the same as buying Bitcoin on an exchange, but with the familiarity of using one’s bank or brokerage account to buy stocks.

It’s also the only option for some firms to gain direct BTC exposure, since they are barred by internal charter from buying anything not within an equity or ETF wrapper. That makes them a fierce competitor for existing Bitcoin companies which, until now, were the next best thing for corporate investors.

Bitcoin companies still offer some advantages. Earlier this week, MicroStrategy rebranded itself into a Bitcoin development company with a “unique value proposition over Bitcoin spot ETFs.” This includes the ability to “develop software,” “generate cash from operations,” and “leverage capital markets” using debt and equity issuance.


Vanguard—the world’s second-largest asset manager after BlackRock—prevents clients from investing in Bitcoin spot ETFs, but is itself a major owner of Bitcoin miners and MSTR. According to Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, Vanguard has an investment philosophy that favors businesses with real cash flow over mere commodities, such as Bitcoin itself.

“Avoid bitcoin like the plague,” the late Vanguard founder John Bogle said in 2017. “Bitcoin has no underlying rate of return… bonds have an interest coupon, stocks have earnings and dividends, gold has nothing.”

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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