British hedge fund firm Man Group plans to add cryptocurrencies to its investment universe if the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) initiates a bitcoin futures contract as previously announced, CEO Luke Ellis told Reuters.

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In a speech at the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit in London, Man Group CEO Luke Ellis compared cryptocurrencies to government-backed currencies. According to Ellis, Man Group will add cryptocurrencies to its investment universe if CME sets up a bitcoin futures contract as planned.

“Conceptually, digital currencies are an interesting thing,” Ellis told Reuters.

“It’s not part of our investment universe today – it could be. If there is a CME future on bitcoin, it would be.”

“There is a big difference between a digital currency and a traditional currency. Traditional ones are supported by governments who have armies and tax men that can make people follow their rules, and digital ones don’t. But that doesn’t invalidate digital currencies at all,” Ellis added.

First listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1994, Man Group is the largest and most diversified marketable alternative asset management company in the world, managing assets of $103.5 billion across five investment management brands.

Earlier this month, futures market operator CME announced that it would launch a bitcoin futures contract by the end of the year.

At the time of the announcement, CME’s Chairman Emeritus Leo Melamed said that bitcoin is likely to transcend its current status as a crytocurrency and become a tradeable asset class in its own right, such as gold or stocks. Melamed added that he expects the cryptocurrency to attract major institutional investors.

Cryptocurrencies have recently garnered a fair amount of interest in the investment management space, with the number of hedge funds focusing on cryptocurrencies rising from 55 funds on August 29 to 110 on October 18, according to fintech research house Autonomous NEXT.

Man Group cryptocurrencies investment – Image source: Yicai Global

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