Crypto Distress Prompts Fir Tree, a Hedge Fund, to Seek Profit From Turmoil

“Fir Tree is at its best when we identify opportunities that are mispriced, dislocated or complex. Rarely do we encounter situations that are all three, but that is precisely what we are seeing in digital assets right now,” Fir Tree said.

AccessTimeIconJul 14, 2023 at 5:11 p.m. UTC
Updated Jul 14, 2023 at 6:58 p.m. UTC
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Fir Tree Partners, a New York-based hedge fund, is launching a new fund focused on distressed crypto assets, an attempt to cash in on the intense turmoil the industry has experienced in the past year or so.

The Fir Tree Digital Asset Opportunities Fund will launch Aug. 1, according to an email seen by CoinDesk.

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  • “Fir Tree is at its best when we identify opportunities that are mispriced, dislocated or complex. Rarely do we encounter situations that are all three, but that is precisely what we are seeing in digital assets right now,” Fir Tree wrote.

    Fir Tree did not immediately return requests for comment.

    Last year was a banner year for crypto collapses and bankruptcies, including the likes of Three Arrows Capital, Voyager Digital, BlockFi, Celsius, FTX and the lending business of Genesis (which, like CoinDesk, is owned by Digital Currency Group).

    Fir Tree is not a stranger to crypto, having tried its hand at shorting Tether’s USDT stablecoin and also getting into a legal wrangle with bitcoin fund manager Grayscale (another DCG division).

    In its email, Fir Tree pointed out that it has "no view on the direction of cryptocurrency or the reflation of any coins" and will try to "hedge any crypto exposure."

    Fir Tree also said conventional crypto investors don't have the experience needed to navigate "bankruptcy proceedings or [conduct] effective activist efforts," giving Fir Tree an advantage. And Fir Tree said its edge versus other distressed investors is they will struggle to "get up to speed on this extremely complicated asset class" and "do not want to be associated with the moniker 'crypto.'"

    UPDATE (July 14, 2023, 18:52 UTC): Adds last two paragraphs with more information from the Fir Tree document.


    Edited by Nick Baker and Aoyon Ashraf.

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    Ian Allison

    Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.


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