Investments 

DeVere to launch digital currency app

DeVere to launch digital currency app

DeVere will launch a cryptocurrency app due to "soaring global demand".

DeVere Crypto is the financial advice firm's second fintech offering in less than 12 months and will be available in a matter of weeks.

It will be available for Apple and Android users and allow them to store, transfer and exchange five major cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ethereum.

Nigel Green, chief executive of DeVere, said: "Nothing has captured the imagination in this new fintech age quite like cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin. No one was really talking about it back in 2016. 

"But those who invested in Bitcoin before the beginning of last year have enjoyed an impressive price increase.

"History will teach us that 2017 was the year that digital currencies came into the mainstream."

Mr Green said the app had been created by leading blockchain and fintech experts.

He said: "Traditionalists who declare cryptocurrencies 'a fad' are akin to King Canute trying to command the tides of the sea to go back.

"DeVere Crypto is designed to meet the growing need and want to store and transfer cryptocurrencies. It’s meeting the evident demand."

At the start of 2017 each bitcoin was worth $1,000 (£725) but its price soared over the course of the year, reaching nearly $20,000 (£14,500) by the end of the year.

Since then its price has fallen back somewhat, and it is currently valued at $12,800 (£9,300).

At the peak of this boom, many figures in the financial services sector called out bitcoin as a bubble.

In September the rapid rise in bitcoin's value led the vice-president of the European Central Bank Vitor Constancio to compare it to the "tulipmania" of the 17th century, generally considered the first speculative bubble.

Meanwhile Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan, has called the virtual currency a fraud and said those who invest in it are "stupid".

The Financial Conduct Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority have recently warned about the increasing number of initial coin offerings, which are ways of raising money from investors using virtual coins or tokens such as bitcoin, where these are issued and put for sale in exchange for money for other virtual currencies such as bitcoin or ether.

In its warning the FCA said ICOs are "very high-risk, speculative investments" where there is likely to be no investor protection.

Meanwhile Esma warned consumers risk losing all their capital if they invest in ICOs, adding that some of these coins had "no tangible value".

damian.fantato@ft.com

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