The hazy regulatory environment and depressed crypto markets are doing little to curb asset managers' interest in digital assets, according to report released Wednesday by Coalition Greenwich, a unit of India-based credit rating company Crisil, and Amberdata, a crypto data provider.
Almost half the 60 buy-side professionals from U.S. and European-based asset managers and hedge funds surveyed between May and June are actively managing digital assets, according to the report, Digital Assets: Managers Fuel Data Infrastructure Needs.
Most of the managers see the digital assets industry growing in the next five years in terms of assets under management, with over 40% estimating a compound annual growth rate of at least 11%, and about a fifth forecasting 20% or more.
A quarter of the firms already have a specific digital assets strategy, and another 13% are looking to unveil one over the next two years.
Overall, asset managers are optimistic about the growth opportunities in the digital assets industry and commercial opportunities to offer products like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and tokenized securities.
Asset managers remain optimistic about the U.S. as a crypto destination and expect American regulators to eventually provide a prudent regulatory framework for the industry. That's surprising, the report said, considering the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) enforcement actions against leading crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase.
Perhaps equally surprising is that most managers expect centralized exchanges to grow over the next five years. Since the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried's crypto exchange FTX in November last year, investors have increasingly preferred to take direct custody of their coins, choosing to hold them off centralized exchanges.
The report also said the industry is still evolving, and managers are bullish on the most obvious use cases like crypto portfolios, investment products, and tokenization of financial instruments.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.