Novogratz: ‘It Sucks to Build a Business in a Bear Market’

Novogratz: ‘It Sucks to Build a Business in a Bear Market’

Mike Novogratz, the chief executive officer of Galaxy Investment Partners, recently discussed the challenges of building a cryptocurrency investment firm in the 2018 bear market. But the former Goldman Sachs partner predicts that institutional demand for cryptocurrencies will drive the start of a new bull trend in 2019.

Galaxy Digital CEO Discusses Market Landscape

Novogratz recently opened up about the challenges involved with launching a business in a bear market. But the 53-year-old former Fortress hedge fund manager hopes the group’s cryptocurrency merchant bank, Galaxy Digital, will eventually become the “Goldman Sachs of crypto.”

He started by reflecting on the events of the past year. “2017 was just fun, it was almost stupid,” Novogratz told the Financial Times. “This year has been challenging. It sucks to build a business in a bear market.”

2018 has indeed been a bearish year for Galaxy Digital, with the company’s shares dropping 37 percent since they were first listed on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange at the start of August.

The bank posted losses of $134 million in the first quarter, driven by $85.5 million in unrealized losses on digital investments and $13.5 million in total losses from its trading arm. During the second quarter, Galaxy Digital posted net income of $35 million, with $44.8 million in unrealized gains and a reduction of its trading losses to $1.1 million.

Novogratz Expects Institutions to Drive Turnaround

Novogratz claims to be unperturbed by the poor performance of cryptocurrencies in 2018. He expects the crypto markets to turn bullish again in 2019, with demand to be driven by financial institutions. He believes they are now moving from investing in cryptocurrency funds to seeking direct exposure to cryptocurrencies. “You’ll see that flip next year,” he said. “That’s when prices start moving again.”

Despite his long-term confidence, Novogratz acknowledges the effect that the crypto-market downturn has had on Galaxy Digital’s staff. “Anxiety levels go up when crypto goes down,” he said. “In most traditional business, [such as] Goldman Sachs, you don’t worry. There’s not an existential threat out there.”

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