'Hassle-free' bitcoin trading sees spike in interest as volumes triple
The bitcoin buying madness is displaying no sign of slowing anytime soon. Jersey-based asset manager Global Advisors – which wields the exchange traded note (ETN) issuer XBT Provider – has seen a tripling in trading volumes since June two thousand sixteen in its bitcoin ETNs listed on the Nasdaq OMX exchange in Stockholm, Sweden.
Jean-Marie Mognetti, co-principal and head of trading and operations at Global Advisors, says there is “significant interest” in the digital currency. The price hit an all-time high of $Two,750 (£2,142) on the Coindesk bitcoin price index on twenty five May, before falling almost 20% on profit-taking, shortly dipping below $Two,000 on Saturday twenty seven May. It is presently trading at $Two,214, back above where it began last week.
As a result of investors seeking out hassle-free routes into bitcoin investing, Mognetti says XBT Providers “has seen constant growth since last June, indicating a tripling in trading volumes over the past twelve months”. He proceeds: “Our two Bitcoin ETNs are on a run that doesn’t seem to be stopping. Our products are routinely volume leaders on Nasdaq OMX since late 2016.”
XBT Providers’ Bitcoin Tracker Euro (XBTE) and Bitcoin Tracker One (XBT) ETNs track the price of bitcoin using synthetic replication. Bitcoin Tracker Euro closed down 0.4% on the day at €99.01 on thirty May, a come back of 371% year to date.
Record volumes on Friday twenty six May made the bitcoin products the second-most traded ETNs on the Nasdaq OMX, turning over €6,861,767 (£6 million). XBT Provider now has $82 million of assets under management.
Buying either fund means there is added currency risk to take into account, in addition to the extreme volatility that has long been a feature of the bitcoin price.
Global Advisors bought Swedish company XBT Provider in June 2016. XBT Provider was originally majority-owned by bankrupt bitcoin miner KnC and was put up for sale by the company’s creditors.
Bitcoin transactions depend on computers to crack the cryptographic puzzle as part of the verification process on the blockchain distributed ledger. The computers – or knots – that crack the puzzle very first are rewarded by payment in bitcoin, which is how the coins come into circulation.
Daniel Masters, co-founder of Global Advisors and formerly of US investment bank JPMorgan, where he was in charge of its energy trading desk, told Reuters at the time of the purchase: “It can be hard for some investors to access the bitcoin market. This gives one-click access to bitcoin by anyone on an electronic trading platform that can access Nasdaq’s global marketplace.”
The only other collective vehicle available to UK investors is the Greyscale Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), a US over-the-counter product that is very illiquid but is available on Interactive Investor. It is presently trading at $400, up 476% year-to-date.
In yet another indication of the bubble-like atmosphere developing, so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) are also attracting speculators in a style not seen since the dotcom boom of 2000. Initial public coin offerings are a way for fresh cryptocurrencies to raise money for their product. They solve the problem of coin distribution as those who invest receive a portion of the fresh coin.
However, just as in the dotcom bubble that eyed investors pursue the latest initial public offerings from internet companies, many of the business cases are unproven and almost all of the companies behind the ICOs have no revenue to speak of.
Picking the next Amazon (AMZN) or eBay (EBAY) in the digital currency universe could prove even trickier than picking an e-commerce winner back in 2000. In two thousand sixteen ICOs attracted $101 million of investor funds. Five months into this year and the money invested in ICOs has already reached $180 million.
Investing in bitcoin and other digital currencies is very speculative: investors interested in gaining exposure should only allocate a fraction of the speculative portion of their portfolio to the asset class, and should aim to hold for the long term.
Investors fresh to the digital currency world could also consider following cryptocurrency traders on social trading platforms such as eToro.
So-called second-tier currencies such as ether, used on the Ethereum blockchain platform (up 15% in one session this week at $196), and XRP from the Ripple financial payments solution start-up, are also witnessing significant speculative interest from investors as a byproduct of the bitcoin price rally.
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This article is for information and discussion purposes only and does not form a recommendation to invest or otherwise. The value of an investment may fall. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.