Tokyo-based Fisco, a research and information prover covering stocks, foreign exchanges, bonds and commodities within and beyond Japan, is set to open an investment fund specific to cryptocurrencies. According to a Nikkei report, the information provider will invest its own money aside from raising capital from other two unnamed publicly-listed FinTech companies with a launch target of over 300 million yen (approx. $2.66 million).
The first-of-its-kind fund in Japan will focus on investments in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and is reportedly set to launch before the end of January. Fisco is aiming for a target of 20% in investment returns from the fund, every year.
Further, the fund will also seek to make profits through arbitrage opportunities by looking into price differentials of cryptocurrencies among domestic and foreign exchanges.
Fisco has been an early mover in researching and adopting cryptocurrencies. Earlier in August 2017, the information provider’s cryptocurrency unit issued three-year debt worth 200 bitcoins (approx. $800,000 at the time), to another firm under the Fisco group. Fisco’s chief product officer Masayuki Tashiro revealed the intent of the cryptocurrency debt sale was to explore the bitcoin bonds’ potential as a viable fundraising tool. The deal, also thought to be the first of its kind in the country, followed legislation in April that effectively recognized bitcoin as a legal method of payment in the country.
Tashiro said at the time:
“We expect that bitcoin will eventually be recognized as a financial product.”
If bitcoin were to be included as a financial instrument under local laws, it would boost Fisco’s business with new financial offerings. “[I]f we play a role of arranger, we could earn fees,” Tashiro added.
Fisco isn’t alone in having bullish expectations for bitcoin as a financial instrument in Japan. MUFG, Japan’s largest financial institution, is gearing to launch a service to secure bitcoin adopters against losses suffered by cryptocurrency exchanges. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust, the group’s trust bank, has already applied for relevant patents and is geared for a tentative launch in April 2018, after Japan’s financial regulator recognizes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as financial assets akin to securities and real estate that can be placed and secured in a trust.