UK's largest trading platform Hargreaves Lansdown offers Bitcoin investments

posted 27 days ago
Britain's largest online trading platform, Hargreaves Lansdown, is to allow its customers to invest in bitcoin, the alternative digital currency.

The broker, which administers £70bn of investors' money, will give its 876,000 customers access to a fund that tracks the price of bitcoin, the best-known of a new breed of alternative currencies.

The fund, offered by a Swedish company, XBT Provider, is structured as an "exchange-traded note" (ETN). This is a fund listed on the stock exchange, meaning it can be bought and sold like a share.

XBT buys complicated "synthetic" certificates, listed in US dollars, that aim to track the price of bitcoin. The ETN itself is denominated in Swedish krona. British investors are therefore exposed to two levels of currency risk.

Danny Cox of Hargreaves Lansdown said: "We have seen a handful of clients asking for the ETN, so it’s not purely driven by a provider wanting to be listed [on the Hargreaves platform]. We are making it available to self-select investors in the same way we offer access to around 3,000 other exchange-traded funds, notes and commodities."

Hargreaves customers can hold the bitcoin investment in their self-invested personal pension (Sipp) or a normal broking account.

Mr Cox added that Hargreaves already allowed investors to access the Bitcoin Investment Trust. The $389m fund is run by Grayscale Investments, which specialises in "crypto-currencies".
Tags: news, bitcoin