Interest from institutional investors to lend and borrow cryptocurrencies is on the rise, according to Genesis Global Capital.
According to a third-quarter report, the company facilitated more than half a billion dollars in loans, of which more than $300 million was lent out to investors as both a tool to hedge and leverage to increase their bets against digital currencies.
“Early in the quarter, working capital drove the majority of loans. In September, however, hedge funds became more active on the short-side and added to their speculative long-term positions,” the company, a subsidiary of Genesis Global Trading Inc., said.
Michael Moro, CEO of Genesis Global Trading, said a common working capital requirement is bitcoin
ATMs. “They need to have bitcoin in a hot wallet, but they don’t want the price risk associated with holding it so when a customer buys at an ATM they will immediately re-buy it from Genesis,” he said. A hot wallet is a wallet that is connected to the internet in some way and readily available to pay out or receive cryptocurrency, as opposed to cryptocurrencies being in cold storage.
Borrowing cryptocurrency has become increasingly popular as punters seek to double down on their crypto wagers. However, to the company’s surprise, crypto bears have steered clear of Ether,
one of the worst performing digital currencies this year. “Our data shows it has been natural holders, not short-sellers selling it,” said Moro.
Read: Are cash-strapped ICOs behind Ether’s underperformance?
Bitcoin makes up 50% of the company’s lending portfolio and depending on counterparty and credit risk, it will cost around 12% per year to borrow bitcoin. However, while lenders are happy to hand over their crypto for a year or so, borrowers operate on a much shorter time frame. “Folks looking to short bitcoin usually have a price target and will often only hold the position for four or five days,” said Moro.
Read: This company will enable you to earn interest on your cryptocurrency
The report comes just days after Fidelity Investments said it had launched a cryptocurrency business to service institutional and sophisticated investors, illustrating the growing interest across the investment spectrum—a trend that’s been at play for a while, according to Moro.
“In the fund space it’s not just crypto specific funds, we are seeing a lot more traditional financial firms borrowing bitcoin too.”
Read: Fidelity launches cryptocurrency trading platform
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