The UK’s leading investing website is offering customers the chance to invest in bitcoin from today – without the technological palaver that buying the cryptocurrency typically requires.
People with a self-invested pension or a general trading account with Hargreaves Lansdown can now buy into a tracker fund that follows bitcoin.
Customers with an Isa or Lifetime Isa can’t invest in bitcoin because it doesn’t qualify for inclusion under taxman rules, Hargreaves explained.
Bitcoin: Only SIPP and general investing account holders can invest in bitcoin
Investors can gain exposure to bitcoin through their SIPPs and shares and fund accounts in the form of an exchange traded note issued by Swedish company XBT Provider.
ETNs are funds listed on the stock exchange, so they can be bought and sold like shares. They are denominated in Swedish krona and investors should be aware of the currency risks, as well as those attached to bitcoin itself.
XBT said: ‘The value of and any amount payable under the certificates will be strongly affected by the performance of bitcoin and the US dollar/krona exchange rate. As such an investment in the certificates is likely to be highly volatile and thus risky.’
Created in 2009, bitcoin is a type of virtual currency that is free from government interference and can be shared instantly online.
Its price has soared since the start of the year thanks to surging demand, jumping from £730 at the end of last year to £1,896 today.
To ensure the system has value, no more than 21million bitcoin can ever be created, so values can fluctuate wildly depending on supply and demand.
The underlying technology is blockchain, a financial ledger maintained by a network of computers that can track the movement of any asset without the need for a central regulator.
XBT head of investor relations Ryan Radloff said: ‘By adding self-service, online dealing, the team at Hargreaves Lansdown is providing UK investors with professional and quick access to the bitcoin space in the UK and greater Europe.
‘This is very exciting for any investors who have been thinking about buying bitcoin but did not want the hassle of security and regulation involved in buying bitcoin directly from exchanges.’
Up and downs: Bitcoin’s performance has been volatile over the years despite the recent jump TOP SIPPS FOR DIY PENSION INVESTORS