The biggest university endowments in America have been secretly buying cryptos for 12 months through crypto exchanges like Coinbase.

According to insider sources, Brown, Yale and Harvard have been purchasing crypto on popular exchanges. 

“There are a number of them,” said a person who wanted to remain anonymous. “Many endowments are buying in a little at a time.”

Brown and Yale did not comment on the insider’s claim. Neither did Harvard nor the other colleges alleged to be buying digital currencies. University endowments received one mention in Coinbase’s 2020 annual report, but that was without naming the college by name.

Some of these funds may have had accounts on Coinbase for over a year, a source reports. 

“It might be since the middle of 2019,” the source claimed. “Most have been buying for at least one year. I would imagine they might discuss it openly some time soon. I predict they have a good return by now.”

University endowments are buckets of wealth accumulated by institutions, often from donations. These resources, which support research and teaching, can be put into different assets for investing.

Harvard has the highest number with more than $40 billion in their endowment. With Yale having more than $30 billion, and Michigan having near $12.5 billion, and Brown holding about $4.7 billion. It’s not known how much of that they have invested in crypto.

Long Term Approach

In 2018, the CIO of Yale University, David Swensen, made news by supporting two crypto-centered venture funds, with one being led by Andreessen Horowitz and one by Fred Ehrsam (co-founder of Coinbase) and Matt Huang, former Sequoia partner.

Several more universities have also backed crypto VCs, including Stanford, Dartmouth College, MIT and Harvard. So clearly, universities seem to be going forward with the trend of investing directly into cryptocurrencies.

Another source within the crypto hedge fund area, said “a big change” happened over the previous few months. “We are witnessing defined benefit pension plans inching closer to buying in,” the source predicted.

“If this was three years ago, I would have disagreed with that,” said Ari Paul, co-founder of BlockTower Capital. “But many organizations are now warming to the idea of cryptocurrencies. They trust it and now they can just purchase it directly from a well-regulated company like Fidelity, Anchorage or Coinbase.”

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