TOBAM is looking to raise money from institutional investors for Europe’s first mutual fund investing in Bitcoin.

The French asset manager – a specialist in smart beta strategies – has developed an in-house team focussed on cryptocurrency research. It said cryptocurrencies had “the potential to become durable standards in financial and saving markets”.

Yves Choueifaty, president of TOBAM, described Bitcoin as a “highly diversifying asset”, and said the company had conducted research into the digital currency “from a technical, financial, economic and regulatory point of view” for a year prior to the launch of the fund.

“This first move in the world of cryptocurrencies showcases our dedication to remaining ahead of the curve and to providing our clients with innovative products in the context of efficient (i.e. unpredictable) markets,” Choueifaty said. 

The fund is available via private placements into an unregulated alternative investment fund domiciled in France.

In a statement, TOBAM said its fund allowed institutional investors to access the cryptocurrency “in a more convenient and safer vehicle”.  

“While Bitcoin is prone to significant risks, including a very high level of volatility, it also provides diversification benefits,” the company said.

TOBAM said it had “developed cybersecurity systems and cutting-edge technological capabilities over the past 12 years, both of which will back up the structure and functioning of the fund”. This included the management of “forks”, which occur when a change or update is made to the algorithm behind Bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s value has exploded in the past 12 months, growing more than 1,000% in dollar terms from $748 to $8,263, according to Coindesk.

Bitcoin price in dollar terms, Nov 2016-Nov 2017

Source: Coindesk

How the price of Bitcoin versus US dollar has developed in the past 12 months