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There are now more than 120 hedge funds focused solely on bitcoin, digital currencies

There are now more than 120 hedge funds focused solely on bitcoin, digital currencies

  • Data shared exclusively with CNBC from financial research firm Autonomous Next shows the number of funds investing in digital assets like bitcoin has grown rapidly to 124.

  • Autonomous Next also estimates that the "crypto-funds" have about $2.3 billion in total assets under management.

  • While several leading Wall Street banking executives remain skeptical about bitcoin, more seasoned money managers are moving into digital assets management.

More than 90 funds focused on digital assets like bitcoin have launched this year, bringing the total number of such "crypto-funds" to 124, according to financial research firm Autonomous Next.

Data shared exclusively with CNBC Friday showed that the largest share of the funds, 37 percent, used venture capitalist-type strategies and had about $1.1 billion in assets under management. Funds focused on trading digital assets came second at 32 percent, with about $700 million in assets under management.

Funds specifically using machine learning, data science or statistical arbitrage on digital currencies came in third at 10 percent and $100 million in assets under management, the data showed.

Total assets under management by crypto-funds now stands at $2.3 billion, according to Autonomous Next's estimates.

Source: Autonomous Next

This year's surge in the price of bitcoin and another digital currency, ethereum, have drawn attention to the cryptocurrencies and the potential of their blockchain technology. Proponents say blockchain could transform the world as much as the internet did, and several major banks are researching or developing blockchain projects.

Digital currency enthusiasts also attribute much of the latest surge in bitcoin to record highs above $6,100 to increased interest from institutional investors. While several leading Wall Street banking executives remain skeptical about bitcoin, more seasoned money managers are moving into digital assets management.

Notably, former Fortress hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz is launching a $500 million digital assets fund through his new firm, Galaxy Investment Partners. The fund is expected to be the largest of its kind.

 

Besides investing in digital currencies like bitcoin and ethereum, enthusiasts are betting on a slew of new digital coins for projects built on the same blockchain technology. The tokens are launched through a process called an initial coin offering and have raised just over $3 billion, according to Autonomous Next.

That said, many of the digital coin projects are still in very early stages. China has banned initial coin offerings, while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has warned investors about the risks of investing in them.

The overall number of crypto-funds and their assets under management is also still minuscule compared to the record $3.15 trillion held by the hedge fund industry in the third quarter, according to HFRI.

WATCH: What is an ICO?

 

 

Author: Evelyn Cheng

 

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin price drops $200 after new ruling from Chinese regulators

Bitcoin price drops $200 after new ruling from Chinese regulators

Bitcoin price drops $200 after new ruling from Chinese regulators

  • Bitcoin's price fell after China announced a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) from $4,584 to around $4,350 per bitcoin.
  • This move to be shortlived, according to experts.
  • The move by China is not the first time the country's regulators have attempted to crack down on cryptocurrency.
  • The price of bitcoin fell sharply after Chinese regulators announced a ban on organizations from raising funds using initial coin offerings (ICOs).
     

ICOs allow start-ups to raise investment by selling new cryptocurrencies, which are similar to bitcoin, in return for cash. However, the People's Bank of China says this practice, which has become popular around the world as well as in China, constitutes illegal fundraising.

Despite bitcoin's price falling, some expect this move to be shortlived.

"This type of news is 'universally' negative sentiment, within the crypto space, so we are not surprised to see a dip on all assets today," Fran Strajnar, co-founder and CEO of data and research company Brave New Coin, told CNBC via email.

"We do not see this to be a lasting issue."

While the ban on ICOs does not directly affect bitcoin, the news created negative market sentiment which is weighing on the prices of several virtual currencies, according to Charles Hayter, chief executive and founder of digital currency comparison website CryptoCompare.

"A rising tide lifts all boats but the opposite is also true – with generally bad news reverberating across the ecosystem all cryptos have turned red together," he told CNBC via email.

However, Hayter added that the long-term effects of regulation are positive.

"The wheat will be sorted from the chaff and a new gold standard of ICOs can be striven for," he said.

Bitcoin's price fell from $4,584 shortly before the announcement to around $4,350 per bitcoin. It was trading around the $4,429 level at midday London time on Monday, according to market data from Coindesk.

The move by China is not the first time the country's regulators have attempted to crack down on the cryptocurrency space. In January and February, the central bank warned several digital currency exchanges they would be shut down if they violated anti-money laundering rules.

Furthermore, while bitcoin dropped sharply on the news, its price has been trending down since hitting the $5,000 milestone at the weekend. Strajnar said this recent climbdown is most likely just profit taking by investors.

"There is likely some profit taking since reaching almost $5,000 on bitcoin, but the amount of fresh capital that continues to pour in suggests this is not the start of a trend reversal."

Should you invest in a cryptocurrency?

Author: Luke Graham 

Posted by Daviid Ogden Entrepreneur

David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

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Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member