The performance of crypto hedge funds in the first half of 2023 has been disappointing, as they have significantly underperformed Bitcoin. Furthermore, around 13% of these funds have already closed their operations this year. This article will delve into the reasons behind this underperformance and shed light on the challenges faced by these funds.

According to data from Switzerland-based investment adviser 21e6 Capital AG, crypto hedge funds have generated an average return of 15.2% in the first six months of this year. While this may seem like a respectable return, it pales in comparison to the staggering 83.3% return that investors would have earned simply by holding Bitcoin during the same period.

Funds Sitting in Cash

The underperformance of crypto hedge funds can be attributed to the fact that many funds have been holding a significant portion of their portfolio in cash. This cautious approach stems from the industry turmoil experienced in the previous year, which reached its peak when major crypto exchange FTX went bankrupt. As a result, Bitcoin and other crypto assets plummeted to their lowest point in the current market cycle.

Unfortunately, this cash position has caused many funds to miss out on the substantial price gains that have occurred in the first half of this year, particularly between January and March. While the industry has recovered and Bitcoin has reached new all-time highs, these funds have struggled to keep up.

Another factor contributing to the underperformance of crypto hedge funds is the lackluster performance of altcoins. In comparison to Bitcoin, numerous altcoins have failed to gain significant traction and have experienced a decline in value. As many funds invest in a variety of digital tokens, the subdued performance of altcoins has further worsened their overall returns.

Challenges Faced by Crypto Hedge Funds

The challenges faced by crypto hedge funds extend beyond investment performance. The closure of crypto-friendly banks like Silvergate Capital Corp. and Signature Bank has left many of these funds scrambling to find new banking partners. Without proper banking relationships, these funds face barriers to securely store and trade their assets.

Additionally, regulatory uncertainty adds to the difficulties these funds are encountering. Rapidly evolving regulations and the lack of clear guidelines make it challenging for funds to navigate the crypto landscape. The search for compliant trading venues and reliable custodians adds another layer of complexity to their operations.

Crypto hedge funds have struggled to match the performance of Bitcoin in the first half of 2023. Their underperformance can be attributed to a combination of factors, including funds sitting in cash after the previous year’s industry turmoil and the lackluster performance of altcoins. Furthermore, the closure of crypto-friendly banks and regulatory uncertainty has created additional obstacles for these funds. As the crypto industry continues to evolve, these funds will need to adapt their strategies and find innovative solutions to overcome these challenges.


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