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French asset management firm TOBAM has launched Europe's very first Bitcoin-focused mutual fund set up in France but available to investors worldwide.

The group claims the fund is the first of its kind in Europe and is for qualified and institutional investors who want to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. 

Bitcoin is currently gaining the largest market capitalization and the longest track record, while also being the most liquid. Today Bitcoin is trading at $9,700. It is also an extremely volatile cryptocurrency, even as it still seems capable of reaching astronomic highs.

"This first move in the world of cryptocurrencies showcases our dedication to remaining ahead of the curve and to provide our clients with innovative products in the context of efficient markets," said TOBAM President Yves Choueifaty, commenting on the launch. "Bitcoin being a highly diversifying asset, this launch is also an expression of our commitment to diversification in all its forms. Once again, TOBAM is ahead of the curve and, in order to remain so, we will continue to reinvest a significant part of our growth into research and innovation for the best interest of our clients."

For those investors skeptical of Bitcoin's stability, the mutual fund offers a bit more certainty and limits downside potential.

"Direct investment in Bitcoin can be operationally challenging, from dealing with the choice of the platform, to maintaining the proper security measures in terms of custody and to managing the changes made to the protocol - hard forks," added Christophe Roehri, head of business development at TOBAM. Our goal is to take control of these operational challenges in order to facilitate access for qualified investors willing to gain exposure to Bitcoin. All of that under the format of a fund."

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The market at large is seeing more and more crypto products launch. In the U.S. the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group has announced plans to launch Bitcoin futures this year. The Bitcoin futures contract will be cash-settled and based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR). 

Another popular investment vehicle which is very different from the mutual fund available to investors is the exchange traded notes (ETNs) launched by Sweden's XBT Group. ETNs are debt backed securities which offer investors exposure to the change in value of the underlying currency. In the case of XBT Provider, the strategy is to track the price movement of the BTC/SEK and BTC/EUR exchange rate. ETNs are usually listed on public exchanges and thus available for purchase via any broker with access to the listing exchange.

"It is safe to say that we are in the middle of a new wave of professional investors entering the market searching for crypto exposure in a format they are familiar with," said Laurent Kssis, CEO of XBT Provider.

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