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Grayscale Crypto Firm in Hot Water Again as New GBTC Lawsuit Filed by Osprey – Here’s What You Need to Know

Fredrik Vold
Last updated: | 1 min read
Source: Yanik Chauvin/Adobe

Grayscale, the digital asset management firm that is part of Barry Silbert’s crypto conglomerate Digital Currency Group (DCG), is in hot water after being sued by industry rival Osprey Funds over how it promotes the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) fund.

In the lawsuit, filed on January 30 with the Fairfield Judicial District Superior Court in Connecticut, Osprey accused Grayscale of engaging in “unfair and deceptive acts and unfair competition” with its GBTC fund.

GBTC is an investment product individual investors can buy with their brokerage accounts. The product has served as a substitute for a spot bitcoin ETF in the US, where no such ETF has been approved yet by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Screenshot from lawsuit filed with the Fairfield Judicial District Superior Court. Source: civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov

Grayscale has publicly said that it intends to convert GBTC to a bitcoin-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF) once it receives the greenlight from regulators. It’s this claim that is now at the center of the lawsuit.

Osprey: Grayscale promoted ETF conversion as “forgone conclusion”

According to Osprey, which sponsors the competing Osprey Bitcoin Trust (OBTC), Grayscale has advertised GBTC as if a future conversion to an ETF is a “foregone conclusion.” This, however, is far from the truth, Osprey claimed.

The conversion of the GBTC Bitcoin Trust to an ETF was “never likely to happen,” Osprey’s lawyers wrote in the lawsuit, while adding:

“Grayscale knew that this message was false.”

Despite this, Grayscale ran “campaign after campaign” where it pushed the message that a conversion of GBTC to an ETF was “inevitable,” Osprey wrote.

False advertising reason for dominant position

Osprey further claimed in the lawsuit that the “false and misleading advertising” that Grayscale has been engaged in is the main reason the firm has managed to achieve such a dominant position in the market.

The firm said in that Grayscale has a market share of approximately 99.5%, despite it charging “more than four times the asset management fee that Osprey charges for its services.”

GBTC’s annual fee is 2%, while OBTC charges 0.49% annually, according to the two companies’ websites.