Findings by PwC and Elwood confirm the extent of the challenges, with bitcoin prices since decisively reversing.
According to the findings, around 150 cryptocurrency hedge funds survived last year, which saw bitcoin (BTC) falling from $20,000 to just $3,000.
Of those, the median loss came in at 46%, while quantitative funds — which take bets on price drops in bitcoin and altcoins — still managed to achieve overall returns of 8%.
The figures underscore a troublesome time for the still-nascent crypto financial instrument economy, which has already undergone a recovery as 2019 sees bitcoin prices return to their highest in over six months.
In April, Polychain Capital, one of the largest crypto hedge funds, nonetheless reported its managed assets had dropped 40% in value in the last quarter of 2018 alone.
Henri Arslanian, PwC fintech and crypto leader for Asia, said in a press release:
“The crypto hedge fund industry today is probably where the traditional hedge fund industry was in the early 1990s. We expect the industry to go through a rapid period of institutionalisation and implementation of sound practices over the coming years.”
Other industry sectors also paid a price during the so-called “Crypto Winter.” In particular, those associated with mining saw dramatic fluctuations in profitability as prices dropped, triggering staff cuts and downsizing.
Sharing the optimism for the future meanwhile was Bin Ren, CEO of digital asset managed Elwood, which co-managed the survey with PwC.
“This broader interest from investors and regulators is undoubtedly a positive step towards digital assets being recognised as an asset class with true viability and longevity,” he commented.