Grayscale Taps Wall Street Alum for New CEO

Bitcoin Stock

After a decade-long tenure at Grayscale Investments, Michael Sonnenshein is stepping down as chief executive officer of the cryptocurrency asset manager. He will be succeeded by Peter Mintzberg, currently serving as the global head of strategy for asset and wealth management at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Mintzberg is set to assume the role of CEO on August 15, according to a press release from Grayscale. During this time, Edward McGee, the Chief Financial Officer, will assume leadership of the company.

Sonnenshein, who joined Grayscale in 2014 and served as CEO for the past three years, decided to depart to pursue other interests, the company stated. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report this news.

During Sonnenshein’s tenure, Grayscale achieved a significant victory against the SEC, leading to the approval of the first spot-Bitcoin ETFs. The company had long sought to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (ticker GBTC) into an exchange-traded fund. However, since the conversion, GBTC has experienced substantial outflows, with investors gravitating towards newly launched, more cost-effective spot-bitcoin ETFs.

GBTC, once a primary avenue for investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without directly purchasing the token, reached assets of nearly $44 billion in 2021. However, since the ETF conversion in January, GBTC has seen outflows exceeding $17.6 billion. In contrast, other US spot-bitcoin funds have attracted positive inflows this year, with BlackRock’s $15.6 billion leading the pack. GBTC’s 1.5% expense ratio has been cited as a deterrent for investors, compared to the lower fees charged by other funds.

Sonnenshein defended GBTC’s relatively high fee in a January interview with Bloomberg TV, citing the company’s size, liquidity, and track record. Despite Grayscale’s efforts to convert GBTC into an ETF, the SEC rejected the proposal in 2022, arguing that a Bitcoin-based ETF lacked sufficient oversight to detect fraud. Grayscale responded with a lawsuit against the SEC, alleging discrimination against its product while approving similar Bitcoin-futures ETFs.

The search for a new CEO began in late 2023, according to sources familiar with the matter cited by the Wall Street Journal. However, the decision was unrelated to GBTC’s performance or outflows.

The crypto asset class stands at a crucial turning point, making this the opportune time for a seamless transition, Sonnenshein expressed in a press release.

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