Accredited investors worried about out-of-control inflation have poured millions into Bitwise's bitcoin fund as a means to preserve the value of their portfolios.
This marks the single-largest increase in assets raised in the fund's two-year history. A filing from 2019 shows the Bitcoin Fund had attracted $4.1 million in investment, meaning the fund has more than doubled in size in the past year.
While bitcoin has come on in leaps and bounds in its acceptance among the traditional investment community, Bitwise's head of research, Matthew Hougan, told CoinDesk the more immediate cause for the surge in the fund's size came from concerns over runaway inflation.
"With the unprecedented expansion of the [Federal Reserve's] balance sheet, the radical amounts of fiscal stimulus, and the Fed's new and significantly more dovish inflation policy, [Bitwise clients] are looking for a hedge," he said in an email.
"Bitcoin is the most efficient hedge for inflation that exists in today's market," he added.
Fiscal stimulus has become a favored tool for governments and central banks as they battle to keep economic activity alive in the wake of the pandemic. The Federal Reserve initially pumped more than $2.8 trillion into the economy and dropped interest to rock-bottom rates.
As Congress debates another $2.4 trillion stimulus package in the run-up to the November elections, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said this month the central bank was unlikely to tighten monetary policy for at least three years and will even tolerate inflation above the 2% target in order to make up for the drop in consumer prices during the peak of the pandemic.
Hougan said many of Bitwise's clients were financial advisers who serve wealthy investors, themselves wary about the debilitating effects inflation can have on their portfolios. Many investors see bitcoin's fixed supply of 21 million as a means to preserve value in the event loose monetary policy leads to runaway inflation.
Indeed, other fund managers have experienced similar surges in demand from the same stratum of well-heeled investors. In the summer, $250 million found its way into three funds run by the New York Digital Investments Group (NYDIG); Pantera Capital told the Securities and Exchange Commission in August it had received nearly $165 million in placements from qualified investors – those worth at least $5 million.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.