Brave investors with an appetite for the mysterious world of “crypto-currencies” will soon have the chance after a start-up announced plans to launch a “Bitcoin fund” in the coming weeks.
DLT Financial, a new firm spun out of a technology business, Tramonex, is behind the fund, which will aim to track the likes of Bitcoin, the best-known of the new breed of revolutionary currencies.
It will follow an index of 10 crypto-currencies including Ethereum and Ripple, which are designed for bank-to-bank transactions.
Investors should be warned, however: few details have yet emerged about how the fund will operate. As with any unconventional assets, investors should be extremely wary and think carefully before placing money in such sectors.
Earlier this year it emerged that the Bank of England itself was developing its own proto-currency, known as RSCoin, prompting speculation that consumers could eventually bypass commercial banks entirely.
Crypto-currencies came to notice following the launch of Bitcoin by a developer known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Online currencies are out of the control of the world’s central banks and allow anonymous transactions. They operate using a digital ledger of transactions known as a “blockchain”.
A Bitcoin exchange owned by the Winklevoss twins – who famously won a £44m settlement in connection with Facebook – opened to British traders this summer.
However, the currencies have proved to be highly volatile. In late 2013 the value of Bitcoin jumped to nearly $1,200 before plunging to less than $200.
Patrick Connolly, of financial adviser Chase de Vere, said: “We look to invest in mainstream asset classes and are nervous in investing in anything that is completely out of the ordinary like this.
“Alternatives assets in general are only for sophisticated investors and you need to make sure you have a well-diversified portfolio in the place first.”
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