Multinational bank BNP Paribas purchased shares in BlackRock's iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), according to a form 13F filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to the firm's 13F report filed May 1, BNP Paribas purchased 1,030 IBIT shares in the first quarter of 2024 at $40.47 a share, for a total of $41,684.10—less than the value of a single Bitcoin, at current prices.

The second-largest bank in Europe by assets, BNP Paribas has allocated a comparitively miniscule portion of its investment portfolio to IBIT. Nevertheless, it marks one of the first verified occasions on which a major financial institution has purchased shares of a spot Bitcoin ETF—at least partially validating the thesis that institutional investors would be drawn to Bitcoin exchange-traded funds.

Institutional investment managers with at least $100 million worth of assets at their discretion are required to submit quarterly 13F reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Banks and fund managers have up to 45 days after a quarter ends to submit their reports. That includes foreign banks, like BNP Paribas, if they transact in the U.S., like buying ETFs from American issuers.


A Goldman Sachs report published immediately after the U.S. SEC approved multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs in January cautioned that, "Time to market and demand across institutional investors may not be immediate."

That argument was backed up by Matt Hougan, CIO of crypto index fund manager Bitwise, who pointed out that, “The truth is, most professional investors still cannot buy bitcoin ETFs,” adding that, “That will change through a series of 100+ individual due diligence processes over the next two years.”

Since their launch in January, Bitcoin ETFs have drawn in $11.2 billion in net inflows, per data from Farside Investors, despite over $17.4 billion in outflows from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).

In recent days, Bitcoin ETFs have seen consistent outflows, with over $563 million in net outflows yesterday alone. The cash outs have come as the U.S. Federal Reserve elected to keep interest rates unchanged, causing investors to shy away from risk assets like stocks and crypto.


BNP Paribas' decision to invest in Bitcoin ETFs represents something of an about-face.

In September 2022, Sandro Pierri, head of fund management group BNP Paribas Asset Management, said that, "We are not involved in cryptocurrencies and we don't want to be involved," adding that the firm had "not heard significant interest" in crypto from its client base.

Edited by Stacy Elliott.

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