DeFi Index Fund Is Bitwise's Fastest Grower, With $32.5M in 2 Weeks: Hougan

The asset manager's chief investment officer says institutional interest in DeFi tokens is ramping up.

Mar 3, 2021 at 7:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:20 p.m. UTC

Bitwise's recently launched decentralized finance (DeFi) index fund has brought in $32.5 million in sales from 262 investors, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission published Wednesday.

Just two weeks after launch, the fund has become Bitwise's fastest-growing private placement ever, Chief Investment Officer Matt Hougan told CoinDesk.

Despite the roadblocks inherent to private securities investment – satisfying accreditation requirements, filings reams of paperwork, wiring money – Hougan said investors are pouring into the DeFi fund at record speed, and "the pace shows no signs of slowing."

"It's rare to attract hundreds of new investors in the first few weeks that a fund is on the market," he said.

That a DeFi product would capture traditional finance dollars faster than headline-grabbing bitcoin funds might seem counterintuitive. After all, DeFi protocols attempt to improve and innovate upon classic financial services like lending and trading with a permissionless backend.

But Hougan stressed DeFi's promise readily clicks with the investment mindset:

"In many cases, it took months of education and discussion for our clients – mostly financial advisors, family offices and hedge funds – to wrap their heads around the core ideas of public blockchains and large-cap crypto assets like bitcoin and ether. But you talk to them about the idea behind DeFi and using software-based dapps to disrupt traditional finance and they get it instantly."

Through that lens, DeFi's status as a "very early and still very risky" software investment opportunity is a plus, he said.

Besides, the index fund is focused on DeFi assets and not their underlying protocols.

Bitwise's DeFi fund invests in 10 tokens weighted to favor market leaders like AAVE and UNI. Lending, derivatives and exchange tokens are all in the mix. They're all currently Ethereum-based, a testament to the world computer's dominance in the DeFi space.

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