Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss the Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTC:GBTC) to mainstream investors. As you might expect, the typical response is derision. Why buy GBTC stock, which has a +60% premium over the bitcoin price? At that rate, you should just buy bitcoin proper.
It’s a fair point, if you’re looking strictly for the best deal among cryptocurrencies. Whether you go with the Bitcoin Investment Trust, or the recently launched Ethereum Classic Investment Trust (OTC:ETCG), all equity assets based on cryptocurrencies will charge a premium against their respective, target coins. There’s really no way around it.
But to suggest that GBTC stock has no utility for crypto-investors is a misguided concept.
For years, both blockchain proponents and mainstream news media have discussed the issue of “zombie coins.” These are cryptocurrencies that lay dormant, likely due to a catastrophic mistake, such as a lost password, or throwing away hard-drives containing valuable blockchain tokens.
These incidents fall under the “preventable” category. However, another prominent source of zombie coins exist: unforeseen death.
We can refer to high-profile cases, such as the banking heir that was sitting on a Ripple fortune worth half-a-billion dollars at the time of his death. Now, his heirs apparently have no way of accessing the funds because of his complex security measures.
But death is obviously not an exclusive fate for the rich and powerful. Several months ago, I came across a Steemit post that discussed what was occurring with a popular, prominent Steemian. Turns out, this blockchain blogger died, and worse yet, he may not have left his password for his family to access.
If this story is true, the family has no recourse but to look at the Steemit blockchain – the wealth is right there, yet they can’t touch it.
What does this have to do with the Bitcoin Investment Trust and GBTC stock? In a way, this fund acts like a crypto-life insurance policy. Overlook that these two terms are oxymorons; the more important point is that equity shares can be transferred as part of a perfectly legitimate estate-planning process.
But with cryptocurrencies, the situation is different. If you pass on without providing your family with the means to access your funds, nobody, not even the government, can offer assistance. Yes, your loved ones may have the full legal right to inherit your cryptocurrencies, but without access, nobody can do anything.
That’s why people who are quick to attack the Bitcoin Investment Trust aren’t looking at the bigger picture. Yes, there’s a rich premium associated with GBTC stock, but in some people’s cases, the inherent protections are well worth the price.