Hedge fund billionaire Alan Howard is betting big on cryptocurrency.
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Howard, 54, began personally investing in cryptocurrencies last year and plans to continue to do so moving forward.
Howard, a co-founder of Brevan Howard Asset Management, has already hired at least one employee to assist him with managing his “sizable” cryptocurrency investments, and he intends to hire more as he expands his reach into initial coin offerings (ICOs) and private equity investments in blockchain startups.
The sources added that other Brevan Howard partners have made personal investments in the cryptoasset space as well, though the $9.1 billion hedge fund firm itself has not purchased or traded any cryptocurrencies.
This pivot to cryptoassets and affiliated companies — if only on a personal level — comes as Brevan Howard’s flagship macro hedge fund suffered a 5.4 percent loss in 2017 — its largest annual loss since the fund was opened in 2003.
This poor performance has eroded the firm’s assets under management (AUM), which now sit below $10 billion after once peaking above $40 billion. This phenomenon is not unique to Brevan Howard, though, as macro hedge fundss generally have not fared well during the recent economic climate and investors have been evacuating them en masse.
As CCN has reported, a growing number of the world’s wealthiest individuals have begun to invest in cryptocurrencies.
Venture capitalist Tim Draper become one of the first high-profile individuals to publicly disclose his investments in the space when he purchased a large share of the Silk Road Bitcoins in 2014. Draper — who is now worth an estimated $1 billion — holds a significant percentage of his wealth in cryptoassets and equity in blockchain startups.
More recently, hedge fund legend Mike Novogratz began investing in cryptocurrency, and he is now in the process of establishing a cryptoasset merchant bank that has been described as the “Goldman Sachs of Crypto.”
Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, also revealed that his venture capital firm — Founders Fund — invested in Bitcoin in 2017 and at one point held several hundred million dollars’ worth of the flagship cryptocurrency.
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