Virginia pension fund invests in crypto lending in bid to boost returns


A $6.8bn Virginia pension fund is wanting to boost its returns by investing in crypto lending markets regardless of a disaster in the sector that has pushed a number of corporations into chapter 11 and left retail buyers with heavy losses.

The Fairfax County Retirement Systems just lately gained approval from its board of trustees to start investing in “yield farming” in which buyers lend out their digital tokens to crypto initiatives in return for a hard and fast stream of funds.

“Some of the yields that you’re able to achieve in a yield farming strategy are really attractive because some of the people have stepped back from that space,” Katherine Molnar, chief funding officer of the Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System, stated in an interview.

Crypto lending has been on the centre of this 12 months’s credit score disaster in digital asset markets after the $40bn collapse of stablecoin terra, which was a well-liked instrument for yield farming, despatched shockwaves throughout the sector.

Several main corporations specialising in crypto lending, together with Celsius Network and Voyager, as a properly as hedge fund Three Arrows Capital have fallen into chapter 11 whereas scores of retail merchants who invested in dangerous yield-farming methods have been hit with heavy losses. Many yield-farming initiatives supply yields which might be a lot increased than these obtainable in bond markets however present few investor protections discovered in conventional finance.

Molnar stated that “for those that are still willing to provide liquidity, decent profit seekers, they’re actually able to earn more attractive yields at the moment”.


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The Fairfax system just lately positioned $35mn every with the Parataxis Capital’s digital yield fund and VanEck’s new finance revenue fund, which goals to present revenue to buyers by short-term lending preparations with digital asset entities.

The Fairfax system’s funding in these crypto yield funds comes after its bigger Canadian peer, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, was stung by Celsius’s choice to halt consumer withdrawals and the chapter petition that adopted it. CDPQ had invested in the privately held group’s equity final 12 months as a part of a wager on the way forward for blockchain know-how.

The $5bn Fairfax County Employee Retirement System and the $1.8bn Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System had already been investing in crypto earlier than making the choice to dip into yield farming. The pension funds first invested $10mn and $11mn, respectively, into the Morgan Creek Blockchain Opportunities Fund in 2019, a 12 months after being alerted to the potential of the know-how.

“We were at a conference and we heard an academic who teaches a course on the topic speak,” Molnar stated. “We were really intrigued by the promise of the technology and its products.”

The pension managers stated they undertook intensive due diligence earlier than making their first allocation, with the funding mainly in the businesses that present the plumbing for the crypto market somewhat than in tokens. The two pension funds then made an additional seven digital allocations, protecting non-public equity, hedge funds and now yield-farming methods.

“We started in venture capital and private equity,” stated Andrew Spellar, funding chief for Fairfax County Employees. “But once we got more comfortable in the space, we started to think a bit broader about how we might be able to use strategies in digital assets in other parts of the portfolio.”

The programs stated their preliminary investments in the digital asset sector have been anticipated to take successful of round 50 per cent from this 12 months’s market turmoil, however that will nonetheless depart the funding up 350 per cent.

“We are still convicted in our original thesis,” stated Molnar. “Things will bounce back and the stronger technologies will probably survive.”

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