Cyprus saw the launch of its first actively-managed investment fund focused on the cryptocurrency markets in October. Larnaca-based ARK36 is focused on delivering a risk-adjusted exposure to crypto-assets for professional investors and is regulated as an Alternative Investment Fund with Limited Number of Persons (AIFLNP) by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
The global cryptocurrency market has risen from a total market capitalisation of USD17 billion at the start of 2017 to more than USD 200 billion at the start of 2020. As a licensed AIFLNP aimed specifically at cryptocurrency investments, ARK36 aims to capitalise on this growth, while its focus on crypto means that investors looking to diversify their portfolios will not find their exposure to other asset classes duplicated.
ARK36 co-founder Ulrik Lykke said: “We are excited to offer our digital asset investment services to professional investors looking to bridge the gap between traditional investment and this growing market, in a secure and risk-mitigated manner.”
“Cyprus has a wonderful reputation and history for fund management and a good tradition for financial industry. Strong private sector with good actors and competent personnel. These are the things you are looking for when you seek an environment in which to set up a fund.”
While there is currently no comprehensive legal framework for regulating blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Cyprus, the government has taken positive steps in this direction with the formation a working group to develop and implement blockchain technology. This working group has set out a national strategy that aims to regulate, through a legal framework, cryptocurrencies and the trading of cryptocurrencies, assuming a categorisation of cryptocurrencies into ‘security tokens’ and ‘non-security tokens’.
At present, companies involved in activities or which offer services that relate to blockchain or cryptocurrencies are regulated in Cyprus only to the extent that their activities fall into the ambit of existing regulatory provisions. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have become an increasingly popular way of raising funds and cryptocurrencies are often used in ICOs. An AIFLNP can be a suitable vehicle for ICOs to take place in Cyprus because there are no diversification requirements and it is a highly flexible investment vehicle.
“Cyprus is fast becoming one of the top emerging investment fund centres in Europe as a result of its continuous efforts to upgrade its legislative and regulatory regime. This new cryptocurrency hedge fund demonstrates the determination of the Cyprus government to stay at the forefront of industry developments,” said Sovereign Trust (Cyprus) Managing Director George Ayiomamitis.
“Cyprus offers unique access to high-growth markets as well as serving as a professional and cost-efficient jurisdiction for investment funds. The expertise of its service providers like Sovereign has established Cyprus as a location of choice for international fund promoters and investors seeking secure and advantageous fund solutions.”