As first noted by Grayscale Director Phil Bonello, MassMutual recently purchased $100 million worth of bitcoin. Assuming it bought the cryptocurrency at its current price of $18,150, that would mean the insurance company purchased 5,510 BTC.
MassMutual, also known as the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, is a life insurance provider servicing five million clients. It was founded in 1851. Wikipedia says its revenue in 2016 was nearly $30 billion.
As an insurance company, MassMutual naturally has a large amount of capital on its balance sheets. The company held $675 billion as of 2016. This bitcoin investment only represents a small portion of its capital.
According to a recently-published story by The Wall Street Journal, MassMutual purchased the coins via NYDIG.
As reported The BTC Times previously, Stone Ridge Asset Management, which owns a large part of NYDIG, purchased $100 million worth of bitcoin in October. NYDIG is a custody and trade execution service for institutional clients looking to purchase bitcoin.
NYDIG founder Ross Stevens told The Journal that "other return-hungry insurance companies have also bought bitcoin for their general accounts through his firm." Stevens did not name those companies.
These purchases come as the returns offered by other classes, namely bonds, have dropped dramatically, sometimes even into the negative. Bitcoin may offer these insurance companies a hedge against monetary inflation and a way to hedge negative interest rates.