The bitcoin world was set alight by news last month that Virginia-based business intelligence and software company MicroStrategy MSTR -3.9% was buying bitcoin to hedge against inflation.
MicroStrategy, which boasts a market capitalization of $1.4 billion, bought just over 21,000 bitcoin in August for $250 million, topping up its investment with a further 16,800 bitcoin tokens last week for $175 million.
As a result, some of MicroStrategy’s biggest investors, including Norway’s $1 trillion oil fund and major asset managers BlackRock BLK -2.2% and Vanguard, have picked up indirect exposure to bitcoin—with their combined holding worth around $100 million.
“Through its ownership stakes in MicroStrategy (1.51% as of December 31 2019), the Norwegian Government Pension Fund now indirectly holds 577.6 bitcoin,” wrote Vetle Lunde, an analyst at Oslo-based bitcoin and crypto intelligence firm Arcane Research, adding it’s “not unlikely” Norway’s oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund with assets worth over $1 trillion, has previously garnered indirect bitcoin exposure from its holding of 1.4% of all global stocks and shares.
Arcane Research analysis also revealed major U.S. asset managers BlackRock and Vanguard, which hold 15.2% and 11.7% of MicroStrategy respectively, have indirectly picked up over 10,000 bitcoin between them.
However, speaking over email, Lunde was keen to play down the oil fund’s exposure to bitcoin, pointing to its lack of investment in gold.
“We are a long way from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund to take a direct position in bitcoin” Lunde said. “The fund is positioned in equities, fixed income and real estate, and for example currently holds no gold. However, the fund is invested in gold mining companies, such as the Newmont Goldcorp Corp, where the fund is holding a 0.95% stake.”
Lunde believes it is possible that Norway’s oil fund may pick up more bitcoin exposure, especially if other companies follow Microstrategy’s lead and put bitcoin on their balance sheets.