Here's One River's crypto pitch to multi-billion dollar pension funds and endowments

Episode 74 of Season 3 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Shaun Martinak, Research and Portfolio Manager at One River Digital.

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"It's really a matter of moving at the pace of the decisions of institutional players."

That's Shaun Martinak, research and portfolio manager at One River Digital, the newly-launched arm of One River Asset Management that's working with clients to add crypto exposure to their portfolios. 

In an interview during the latest episode of The Scoop podcast, Martinak observed that while institutional players have made headlines entering crypto, some of the largest investors--including pensions and endowments--account for only a small fraction of the crypto market. He believes that, in the future, there will be a place for such investments in the portfolios of these types of investors. 

"I think between 2 and 10 percent is a perfectly good number," he said, speaking to the penetration of pension funds and endowments into crypto. "And it's a matter of the timeline for education and the timeline for decision making. Those organizations are careful. They're careful because they manage the money of all of those people that we just referenced. So, you know, they don't make these decisions lightly."

He said such firms are actively seeking exposure though One River as they actively pitch for their business. 

"I think the pitch is multifaceted, but it really boils down to: This is an area of fundamental growth at a time where fundamental growth is difficult to find."


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The metaverse 

While hesitant to make predictions on cryptocurrency portfolio allocation over the next 12 months, Martinak was enthusiastic about the growth and technological advancement he’s seen in the gaming segment.

Ultimately, he sees the possibility of gaming and NFT assets sitting alongside traditional assets in an investor's portfolio. 

“When I think about the metaverse and I think about what digital assets and crypto primitives bring to existing in a space with other people in a digital environment, it just seems like it compounds how much time and attention we spend on our screens and in our information universe because your bank account is going to live in there with you, your value is going to live in there with you," he said.

As Martinak posits: “What is this going to look like in its version of the Super Bowl?”

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Frank Chaparro is Host of The Scoop podcast and Director of Special Projects. He also writes a biweekly newsletter. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].