Vancouver businessmen launch bitcoin investment opportunity

Two Vancouver-based entrepreneurs have teamed up to make the world’s digital currency a little more accessible.

Launched by Vancouver’s Sean Clark and Marc van der Chijs, co-founders of First Block Capital, the FBC Bitcoin Trust gives Canadians an easy way to invest in bitcoin.

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“Our team is excited to bring new opportunities for investors in Canada,” Clark said. “Being a market leader in the cryptocurrency space will only open more doors and create new investment avenues. As demand for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies increases, it’s important for us to help educate the market and provide an accessible avenue for people to invest.” 

The open-ended unit trust enables accredited investors to get exposure to the price of bitcoin without having to worry about buying and securing bitcoin, which has been a challenge, Clark said.

The fund was approved last week by the B.C. Securities Commission, making it the first registered investment fund manager in the country solely dedicated to cryptocurrency investments.

“Cryptocurrency investments are a new and novel form of investing in Canada,” said Zach Masum, manager of legal services, capital markets regulation and leader of the commission’s tech team. “This first registration allows access to bitcoin investments, while providing the BCSC with unique mechanisms to monitor operations in a rapidly developing area.”

The trust is also registered in Ontario.

“Many accredited investors have been watching bitcoin appreciate in value, but until now they haven’t been able to invest in it through a managed fund as they would with a commodity like gold or silver,” van der Chijs said. “FBC Bitcoin Trust removes the complicated barriers to investing in bitcoin, making it more accessible to the mainstream investment community.”

Released in 2009, bitcoin is a digital asset that was designed to work as a currency. It is purchased, used and stored online. While it can be used at a growing number of businesses in Vancouver and around the world, Clark said that First Block Capital believes that bitcoin will be used as a store of value, like gold, and not as a replacement for other currencies.

One of the big challenges with bitcoin is keeping it safe and secure, Clark said. Previously, purchasing bitcoin required a high level of technical knowledge to navigate the transaction process. Once purchased, investors are then required to securely store the bitcoin online.

“We’re solving the security factor for you,” Clark said.

“This is for non-crypto people, which is 99.9 per cent of the population.”

The new venture aims to simplify the process, allowing investors to buy units of the trust. It removes barriers for people who want to get into the bitcoin market through traditional investment channels, Clark said. He added that once purchased through the trust, the units can be transferred to a self-directed RRSP or TFSA.

According to the Canadian Bitcoin Index (cbix.ca/charts) bitcoin is currently valued around $4,300 CAD, down from a high of $6,135 last week.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com

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