With over 1,800 coins and tokens in circulation globally and over 250 digital assets funds in the US alone, digital assets are beginning to move beyond the realms of a concentrated group of private investors and contributors towards becoming a new institutional asset class. Digital assets also cannot be disassociated with the various distributed ledger technology (DLT) which underpins them. Research into DLT,  - which includes and is often termed ‘blockchain’ - is constantly evolving and many commercial applications of DLT are being investigated.  

AIMA fund manager members are increasingly looking at how digital assets may be incorporated into existing and new strategies. Members and the broader asset management industry are also looking closely at the potential opportunities and economic cases for incorporating DLT into their operational processes and how it may be used by markets, post-trade institutions, administrators, custodians and other service providers to create cost efficiencies, enhance transparency and reduce risk.

There are, however, still significant regulatory, technical and commercial challenges to overcome before digital assets can become a true institutional asset class for AIMA manager members and before DLT is able to be implemented in a commercially viable manner. AIMA, therefore, intends to take a leading role on behalf of the global alternative investment management industry active in the digital assets space as the technology develops and important regulatory decisions are made. In addition to regulatory engagement, AIMA will develop specific educational, operational and regulatory guidance for member firms to help them understand both digital assets and DLT.

AIMA’s digital assets and DLT work is driven by the senior-level AIMA Digital Assets and Blockchain Core Group, with regular updates and insights shared with the AIMA Digital Assets Circulation Group which is open to all members.

If you have any questions on AIMA’s digital assets and blockchain work, or would like to join the DAB Circulation Group, please contact Adam Jacobs-Dean (ajacobs-dean@aima.org).