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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. 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. 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. Bitcoins are lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they travel from one owner to the next. They are the basic unit of a new online economy which runs independently of any company, bank, or government.
Because bitcoins allow people to trade money without a third party getting involved, they have become popular with libertarians as well as technophiles, speculators — and criminals. 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. 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.