Fintech startup InvestUp's exploring adding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to its robo-investment platform

Lynsey Barber
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Robo-investor Investup is seeing demand for cryptocurrencies (Source: Getty)

A fintech startup which directs investors' cash into peer-to-peer loans using an algorithm, is exploring a move into cryptocurrencies.

The boom in bitcoin has spurred InvestUp to consider offering the option as demand from investors is rising.

Read more: Bitcoin sinks below $15k while ethereum nears its all-time high

The robo-investor platform is looking to pilot a new feature that will let investors allocate their cash to selection of both loans and cryptocurrencies, with separate algorithms governing both.

The startup, originally founded in London and now based in Leeds, plans to analyse more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies and anticipates including between 10 per cent and 35 per cent of them, which will be scored according to risk. The algorithm will then identify the best investments for a user's portfolio and adjust them automatically to maximise the return.

InvestUp said it will work with the financial watchdog to test it and is likely to apply for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulatory "sandbox", in which fintechs can experiment under regulatory supervision without fear of falling foul of the law.

It also noted "specific interest" from fund managers.

Read more: Now Jamie Dimon says he regrets calling bitcoin a "fraud"

Bitcoin's astonishing (if volatile) rise has continued as heads towards the mainstream, along with other cryptocurrencies such as ripple and ethereum, and new financial products and services are springing up to sate appetites.

High profile bitcoin futures launched late last year while spreadbetter IG Group last week added Ripple and Litecoin trading, bringing the total number of cryptocurrencies it offers traders to six.

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