According to Coindesk, major university endowments have quietly been purchasing crypto assets since 2018
Coindesk sources revealed that some of the largest uni endowment funds have gradually been accruing crypto via exchanges like Coinbase. The crypto media outlet detailed that Harvard, Yale, and Brown endowment funds have accounts at Coinbase and other exchanges that facilitate the crypto acquisition. Coindesk cited two ‘reliable’ sources that were plugged into the matter
University endowment funds are an aggregation of assets held by universities to aid their educational mission in perpetuity. They typically consist of money or other assets donated to these institutions.
Harvard, Yale, and Brown endowments aren’t the only ones to be allocated in crypto. Several other colleges and universities, including the University of Michigan, are directly invested in cryptocurrencies. The sources claimed that a couple of Ivy League endowments were drawn into blockchain technology through crypto-oriented ventures in 2018.
“There are quite a few. A lot of endowments are allocating a little bit to crypto at the moment,” the anonymous source reported.
Around the same time, Bloomberg reported that Yale was getting in on cryptocurrencies. CNBC also reported that Yale’s chief investment officer David Swensen was backing two crypto-dedicated ventures. The first one was led by Andreessen Horowitz, and the other had been initiated by Coinbase’s board director Fred Ehrsam and Paradigm partner Matt Huang.
According to Coindesk, other universities like Dartmouth College, Stanford, University of North Carolina, and MIT followed suit in backing crypto venture capitals. Some of these names have now plunged into the cryptocurrency space directly.
It is worth noting that university endowments were broadly mentioned in 2020’s Coinbase annual report, however, no specific names were featured. One source reported that the likes of Harvard, Yale, and Brown held accounts with the fast-growing crypto exchange Coinbase for about one and a half years
“It could be since mid-2019. Most have been in at least a year. I would think they will probably discuss it publicly at some point this year. I suspect they would be sitting on some pretty nice chunks of return.”
Harvard has the biggest endowment basket out of the universities in question. The assets in its endowment basket are worth more than $40 billion. Yale is at second place behind Harvard by about $10 billion. The University of Michigan and Brown follow with around $12.5 billion and $4.7 billion, respectively.
The exact fraction of the universities’ endowment funds invested into crypto is not clear yet as of writing.