Just this week, shares in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust began trading at a discount after years of trading at a premium. Now, the Grayscale Ethereum Trust is also trading at a discount for the first time since it opened in 2017.
The investment product, which is available via over-the-counter markets under the symbol ETHE, traded at a 5.2% discount yesterday; it normally trades at a premium of above 5%.
The Grayscale Ethereum Trust is an investment vehicle that takes investor's dollars and uses them to buy Ether. But instead of investors receiving that Ether, Grayscale holds it on their behalf and issues shares that are meant to track the price of ETH.
There's a bit of a catch, though: Shares of ETHE rarely trade for the same price as actual ETH. Usually, they cost more than the underlying asset.
There are a few reasons for that, the largest one being that Grayscale charges a 2.5% annual fee. Some investors pay it because the trust is a regulated product and Grayscale assumes the risk of holding keys. Grayscale does extraordinarily well with this model; the trust controls 3.17 million ETH, over 2.7% of the circulating supply of Ether.
One factor playing into the recent discount may be the six-month holding period before investors can turn around and sell their shares. As QCP Capital CIO Darius Sit told Decrypt yesterday regarding the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, the premium often drops as trading desks cash out and claim their premiums.
“GBTC trading at a discount to the price of Bitcoin doesn’t necessarily indicate bearish outflows,” he said.