The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is a fund (an investment product traded on the stock market open to U.S. investors) created by Grayscale, which was one of the first securities in the world to only invest in and derive value from the price of bitcoin (BTC) and nothing else.
Investors give Grayscale U.S. dollars, and in exchange receive shares (just like Amazon, or Microsoft, or Alphabet shares) in GBTC that they can trade on the stock market.
Owning GBTC is not the same as owning actual bitcoin. GBTC is shares.
When you buy bitcoin on a cryptocurrency exchange, for example, you are directly buying bitcoin, which ends up in your digital wallet. You don’t get shares that can be traded via the traditional financial markets or obtained from traditional brokerages.
Grayscale chargers buyers a 2% annual fee to own GBTC.
Buying and holding bitcoin, without a 3rd party involved, is free.
If Grayscale as a company was to go down, you’d lose access to your GBTC. What wouldn’t happen with bitcoin self-custodied.
The fund was created in 2013.
As of August 2022, the trust has USD $14.6 billion in assets under management (AUM).