Hedge Fund Strategies in Cryptoland

Update on a new financial ecosystem

Edward Nelson, CFA, Risk Manager, Cambrial Ltd
Originally published in the February | March 2020 issue

Bitcoin (BTC) is the cryptocurrency that grabs the headlines as it bounces around the charts but, for the increasing number of professional investors taking an interest in crypto, there is much more to consider. Cambridge Associates made this point in January 2019 when they published their note: Cryptoassets: Venture into the Unknown, mapping out the range of strategies and arguing that institutional investors – however sceptical they might be about the current investability of the market – should recognise its long term potential and look at the asset class more closely. Even this cautious endorsement from such a respected investment advisory firm was a huge morale boost for the sector that was still in the depths of the 2018 crypto bear market at the time.

Crypto hedge fund (HF) strategies only get a passing mention in the CA report, largely because they are so small relative to the large pools of capital invested in VC, public ICOs, and in straightforward BTC ‘Hodling’. While still small scale, they have continued to expand and develop in the months since the publication and are now capable of producing attractive and diversifying returns for smaller institutions. Even setting aside the investment potential, crypto is a new asset class and it is fascinating to observe how a new financial ecosystem of products and strategies has grown up in this Terra Nova.

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