Crypto Shadow Banking Explained and Why 12% Yields Are Common

(Bloomberg) — A swathe of shadow banks in the $1.6 trillion cryptocurrency market have figured out how to generate returns of 12% with minimal risk: Lend U.S. dollars to hedge funds so they can buy Bitcoin.Some of the largest non-bank firms in cryptocurrency including BitGo, BlockFi, Galaxy Digital and Genesis are stepping up to meet investor demand for dollars amid a long-standing weariness by banks to lend to individuals or companies associated with Bitcoin and other digital assets. In this case, they’re lending to hedge funds that need cash to buy Bitcoin for a trade that is almost guaranteed to pay out at annualized returns that have recently hit 20% to 40%.“The people with all the money — the banks, the brokerages — they’re not in this space yet,” said Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer for Arca Capital Management, which specializes in digital assets. “Everyone wants to borrow dollars, but there’s not enough dollars in the space,” Dorman said. “There is a huge cash shortage.”While traditional savings accounts offer a measly 0.5% in a world that hasn’t seen interest rates rise meaningfully in over a decade, non-bank lenders that accept digital assets can earn double digit interest due to a severe shortage of traditional currencies like dollars and euros. The