Hedge Fund Billionaire Alan Howard Makes 'Sizable' Bet on Cryptocurrency

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Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Howard, 54, started personally investing in cryptocurrencies last year and intends to keep doing so moving forward.

Howard, a co-founder of Brevan Howard Asset Management, has hired at least one employee to assist him with handling his «large» cryptocurrency investments, and he intends to hire more as he expands his reach into first coin offerings (ICOs) and private equity investments in blockchain startups.

The sources added that additional Brevan Howard partners have made personal investments in the cryptoasset area as well, although the $9.1 billion hedge fund firm itself has not bought or traded any cryptocurrencies.

This pivot to cryptoassets and affiliated businesses — if only on a personal level — comes as Brevan Howard's flagship macro hedge fund suffered a 5.4 percent reduction 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 under $10 billion after once peaking above $40 billion. This phenomenon is not unique to Brevan Howard, though, as macro hedge funds generally haven't fared well during the recent economic climate and investors have been evacuating them en masse.

Billionaires Warm to Cryptocurrency Investments

Since CCN has reported, an increasing number of the world's wealthiest individuals have begun to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper become one of the first high-profile people to publicly disclose his investments in the space when he purchased a large share of the Silk Road Bitcoins in 2014. Draper — who is currently worth an estimated $1 billion — retains a significant percentage of his wealth in cryptoassets and equity in blockchain startups.

More recently hedge fund legend Mike Novogratz started investing in cryptocurrency, and he's 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 company — Founders Fund — spent in Bitcoin in 2017 and at one stage held several hundred million dollars' worth of the flagship cryptocurrency.