An independent analyst has confirmed that GBTC owns approximately 633,000 Bitcoin held by its custodian – Coinbase Custody. This comes as Grayscale, the asset manager running the world’s largest bitcoin fund, revealed that it won’t share its proof of reserves with customers.
According to the analyst, there could be two reasons explaining Grayscale’s reluctance. One, there could be a non-disclosure policy enforced by Coinbase Custody, or it could be a deliberate obfuscation by Grayscale itself.
Confirming Grayscale’s Proof of Reserves
An OXT Research analyst, who is pseudonymously known as Ergo, has confirmed the existence of Grayscale’s on-chain holdings with the help of on-chain forensics.
In total, they were able to attribute 432 addresses with a total balance of about 317,705 BTC to likely GBTC TXOs held by Coinbase Custody. The figure is approximately 50% of GBTC’s reported current holdings.
The reliability of centralized crypto exchanges to serve as stewards for customers’ assets has been questioned multiple times. But it was not until the spectacular collapse of FTX into bankruptcy that reinvigorated the discussion around a potential called – Proof of Reserves.
Proof of reserves (PoR) is essentially an independent audit conducted by third parties in a bid to provide clarity and evidence that a custodian holds the assets it claims to own on behalf of its clients. The balances are then aggregated by these auditors into a Merkle tree, which contains all client balances.
Several firms are now rushing to publish proof of reserves in a seeming attempt to reassure customers their funds are safe.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume – Binance – has already published information with regard to its wallet balances and revealed its plans to carry out a proof-of-reserves snapshot over the next several weeks. Gate.io, KuCoin, Poloniex, Bitget, Kraken, Huobi, OKX, Deribit, and Bybit are some of the other prominent exchanges that have made similar commitments.
But Not Grayscale
The asset manager running the world’s largest bitcoin fund last week firmly said it has no plans to follow the footsteps of other custodians, citing security concerns.
In a statement last week, Grayscale wrote it understands that not revealing proof of reserves would be a “disappointment to some” but went on to add that a “panic sparked by others is not a good enough reason to circumvent complex security arrangements” that have kept its investors’ assets “safe for years.”
“Due to security concerns, we do not make such on-chain wallet information and confirmation data publicly available through a cryptographic Proof-of-Reserve, or other advanced cryptographic accounting procedure.”
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