Harvard Management Company – the company managing the University’s $ 41.9 billion endowment – may have bought Bitcoin as early as 2019 from market exchanges, according to a Monday CoinDesk report.
Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that operates independently of central banks, only exists as a series of transactions on a series of servers called “blockchains”.
When it started in 2009, the value of bitcoin ranged from $ 5 to $ 20. But over the past four years, the price of a single bitcoin has soared to over $ 20,000 before dropping back to around $ 16,000.
This is not the first time that the University has invested in cryptocurrency. In April 2019, investors affiliated with Harvard purchased approximately $ 11.5 million worth of Blockstack cryptocurrency, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Blockstack, which started as an open-source digital privacy project, launched its coin in 2018. It was one of the first cryptocurrencies to gain approval from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
HMC would have 95.8 million stack tokens during Blockstack’s initial offering. At the time, the investment represented less than 0.05% of Harvard’s endowment, which was then valued at nearly $ 40 billion.
The Information, citing an anonymous source, reported in October 2018 that Harvard and several other universities had invested in a cryptocurrency fund, although the report did not cite what type of digital currency.
Bitcoin’s value has more than quadrupled over the past year, but its success has not come without scrutiny. Over the past few years, the cryptocurrency has faced concerns in the United States and abroad about its potential use for illegal activities.
Bitcoin’s value fell 10% on Tuesday morning as investors wait for the Biden administration’s plans for the future of the cryptocurrency and its markets.
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and Gary Gensler, the candidate for the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, have signaled that they will take a close look at the regulation of Bitcoin.
HMC spokesman Patrick S. McKiernan declined to comment, citing HMC’s policy of not commenting on individual investments.
—Writer Virginia L. Ma can be contacted at [email protected]