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Institutional Investors Not Backing Down on Digital Assets: Survey

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What You Need to Know

  • Eighty-eight percent of institutional investors surveyed said they find characteristics of digital assets appealing.
  • Those who have not yet invested in digital assets say price volatility is the biggest barrier.
  • More than 80% of survey participants said that digital assets should be a part of an investment portfolio.

Institutional investors continue to be interested in digital assets despite turbulent market conditions, according to a recent survey from Fidelity Digital Assets.

Fifty-eight percent of institutional investors in the poll reported that they were invested in the first half of the year, up 6 percentage points year over year.

Although digital asset ownership is higher among Asian investors than those in the U.S. and Europe (69% vs. 42% and 67%), ownership in the U.S. grew by 9 points since 2021 and by 11 points among Europeans.

In both regions, high-net-worth investors largely drove the increase, as did financial advisors in Europe. Globally, 82% of wealthy investors use digital assets, as do 87% of crypto hedge funds and venture capital funds and 73% of financial advisors.

“The increased adoption reflected in the data speaks to a strong first half of the year for the digital assets industry,” Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity Digital Assets, said in a statement.

“While the markets have faced headwinds in recent months, we believe that digital assets fundamentals remain strong and that the institutionalization of the market over the past several years has positioned it to weather recent events.”

According to the study, 88% of institutional investors surveyed said they find characteristics of digital assets appealing, up 5 points among U.S. institutional investors and 2 points among Europeans, while holding steady in Asia.

What do they like about digital assets? High potential upside, innovative tech play and enabling decentralization. Overall, 51% of institutional investors reported a positive perception of digital assets, up from 45% in 2021.

Coalition Greenwich conducted the survey between Jan. 2 and June 24 among 410 institutional investors in the U.S., 359 in Europe and 283 in Asia, including family offices, digital and traditional hedge funds, pensions and defined benefit pensions, financial advisors, endowment and foundations and high-net-worth investors

Digital Assets in an Institutional Portfolio

As the digital assets market and ecosystem continues to mature, fewer institutional investors now view digital assets as an alternative asset class, particularly in the U.S. and Asia. Moreover, 35% of respondents believe digital assets should be viewed as an independent investment class, up from 23% in 2021.

Although they continue to express interest in and explore digital assets, institutional investors who have not yet invested in them see several barriers to adoption.

Consistent with 2021 survey results, price volatility is the biggest barrier, according to half of respondents. At least a third cite lack of fundamentals to gauge value, security concerns among institutions and end-clients, market manipulation risks, complexity and regulatory concerns as a reason they do not currently invest in digital assets.

“Possibly even more prominent a focus given recent market activity, price volatility remains the primary barrier to adoption,” Chris Kuiper, director of research for Fidelity Digital Assets, said in the statement.

Kuiper noted that while short-term price fluctuation is an inherent characteristic of this emerging asset class, many of the other concerns cited by respondents can be addressed through education.

However, 81% of survey participants said that assets should be a part of an investment portfolio as of the first half of the year. Four in 10 globally who invest buy digital assets directly, up from 34% in 2021, with bitcoin and ether being the most popular direct investment assets.

Ether ownership in the U.S. increased 5 points year over year, while remaining consistent in the other markets.

Thirty-five percent of respondents buy investment products that hold digital assets, 30% buy investment products holding digital assets companies and 20% gain exposure via futures contracts.

Respondents also indicated an appetite for new products. Fifty-two percent of Asian institutional investors, 47% of European ones and 43% of U.S. institutional investors said they find the concept of a bitcoin ETF appealing. They also rank high actively managed multi-digital asset funds and passive multi-digital asset funds.

Seventy-four percent of institutions surveyed said they plan to buy digital assets in the future. Future purchase intent increased by 7 points in the U.S. because of interest by high-net-worth investors and by 5 points owing to financial advisors.

Globally, future preference to buy remained consistent year over year for financial advisors, family offices, pensions, crypto hedge funds and venture capital funds, and endowments and foundations.


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