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Japan’s $1.5 Trillion Pension Fund To Assess Bitcoin


The Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) of Japan, the world’s largest pension fund with assets totaling $1.5 trillion, has officially announced its initiative to explore diversification opportunities that include Bitcoin, alongside traditional investments such as gold and more unconventional assets like forests and farmland. This exploration marks a monumental potential pivot in the investment strategy of a fund traditionally associated with more conservative asset classes.

Japan GPIF Seeks Information On Bitcoin

According to a Bloomberg report dated March 19, 2024, GPIF is in the initial phase of this exploration, focusing on an information request stage rather than signaling an imminent expansion of its investment portfolio. The fund currently diversifies its holdings across a vast array of assets, including domestic and international stocks and bonds, infrastructure, and real estate. With assets under management valued at approximately 225 trillion yen as of the end of December 2023, the GPIF’s interest in Bitcoin and other illiquid assets underscores a notable shift towards broadening its investment aperture.

The GPIF stated, “In addition to basic knowledge about the assets targeted for information provision, we are also seeking information on how overseas pension funds incorporate them into their portfolios and actual investment cases.” This reflects a methodical approach to understanding the potential benefits and risks associated with diversifying into less traditional and more volatile asset classes like Bitcoin.

Recent years have seen the GPIF actively seeking to enhance the sophistication and diversity of its portfolio. “Since the fall of 2022, a total of 56 active funds have been selected in North American, developed country, and Japanese stocks,” the GPIF noted, highlighting its ongoing efforts to refine its investment strategies. The inclusion of Bitcoin and other non-traditional assets would represent a further step in these diversification efforts.

However, the GPIF has cautiously noted, “This announcement is a request for information and does not indicate that the company will expand its investment targets in the future.” This statement clarifies that any decision to incorporate Bitcoin or other proposed assets into its investment strategy will depend on the outcomes of its current research phase.

This move by the GPIF comes amid broader regulatory changes in Japan regarding Bitcoin and crypto investments. Just one month prior to this announcement, Japan’s administration, led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, moved to enable investment funds to hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies directly. “The bill states that ‘measures will be taken to add crypto assets to the list of assets that can be acquired and held by investment limited partnerships,’” according to a statement from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

The GPIF’s exploration of Bitcoin and alternative assets not only underscores the growing institutional interest in Bitcoin, but is also in line with Japan’s regulatory advances aimed at integrating digital assets into the country’s economic framework. The potential inclusion of Bitcoin in the world’s largest pension fund would be huge news and could have implications for other countries and their investment strategies.

At press time, BTC traded at $64,589.

Bitcoin price, 4-hour chart | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

Featured image created with DALL·E, chart from TradingView.com

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