Asset manager Grayscale unveiled two new investment trusts on Thursday, offering certain investors exposure to the Bitcoin layer-2 Stacks and Near Protocol, respectively.

Limited to accredited investors, the trusts function much in the same as other private placements that Grayscale offers. Among a myriad of offerings, the new trusts join others dedicated to cryptocurrencies like Solana, Chainlink, and Decentraland.

“With continued demand for diversified crypto asset exposure, Grayscale remains committed to launching new products that enable investors to access emerging and evolving parts of the crypto ecosystem," Grayscale’s Head of Product and Research, Rayhaneh Sharif-Askary, told Decrypt in a written statement.

As a Bitcoin layer-2 network, Stacks brings smart contract functionality to Bitcoin, enabling the development of decentralized finance applications on top of crypto’s oldest network. Beginning to roll out its Nakamoto upgrade last month, the network’s profile has been elevated recently by the popularity of Bitcoin protocols Ordinals and Runes.


“Within the Stacks ecosystem, we're witnessing a robust increase in demand from institutions, overall,” Stacks’ Investor Relations Lead Kyle Ellicott told Decrypt. “The greater Bitcoin ecosystem is seeing similar demand as that wide gap continues to lessen around unlocking Bitcoin liquidity and making it [more] usable.”

Grayscale describes private placements as the first stage of its products’ life cycle, with uplisting to an ETF listed as an end-goal on the firm’s website. So far, Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust is its only product to achieve such a status, approved among applications for other spot Bitcoin ETFs in January, though it’s seeking similar SEC approval for its Ethereum Trust as well.

NEAR Protocol, launched in 2020, has established itself as a high-speed blockchain focused on decentralized cloud computing. On Wednesday, the project announced that it had launched a new research and development lab dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI).

The innovative nature of both projects was noted by Sharif-Askary, who said, “By creating distinctive solutions to address blockchain’s scalability challenges, Stacks and Near are poised to help foster greater adoption—ultimately helping to drive the crypto ecosystem forward.”


Edited by Andrew Hayward

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