Today I have a fun chart for all you crypto cynics.

Back at the end of October my column for Citywire turned to the subject of crypto.

You can read said column HERE.

I am absolutely no crypto-enthusiast but I accept that there are huge realms of knowledge and expertise I am unqualified to pontificate on.

Crypto is one of them.

I have my doubts but even I accept that something very interesting is happening in terms of mainstreaming. Quite how to value these coins is anyone’s guess but Matt Levine at Bloomberg is probably on the ball when he says valuation is essentially a by-product of each large institution saying they are buying cryptos. Once that newsflow stops and then turns around, I suspect we’ll see negative momentum at work. But, as I said, who knows!

In the meantime, we can all have some fun. In that Citywire column, I said I liked the look of KR1 declaring that “I have started buying a few as a long term hedge against my cynicism. I have no idea whether this venture capital investor will double or treble in value or be worth nothing in a few years’ time but I’d wager that blockchain and decentralized finance isn’t going away.” Again, to repeat from that column KR1 seems an interesting actively managed, VC-oriented way of playing blockchain, decentralized finance and crypto.

KR1 described itself as specializing “in seed and early stage investments into projects that use decentralised technologies to create innovative products and services to disrupt current systems. KR1 is a leading digital asset investment company supporting early-stage decentralised and open-source blockchain and decentralised finance projects. Founded in 2016 and publicly traded in London, KR1 has built a notable reputation for generating significant returns by investing in many key projects that are designed to power the decentralised platforms and protocols that are emerging to form new internet infrastructures.”

Flash forward a few months and look at the chart below.

Red lIne – Argo Blockchain
Purple Lion – Riot Blockchain
Black Line – KR1
Green Line – Blockchain spot

KR1’s share price has gone utterly ballistic – in the chart above, KR1 is the black line. I think the last time I looked my investment had gone up over ten-fold despite the absence of much company specific newsflow.

But the bigger story is of course that wider crypto context. This is why I have included some other, colored lines in the chart below. The red one is for Argo Blockchain which I also started buying early January. Gulp! The green line is Bitcoin itself while the purple line is a US equivalent Riot Blockchain.

I’ve sold down successive packets of stock in both KR1 and Argos to such an extent that I’m quite content to go along for the journey and if I was really bullish I would say that KR1 could go even higher, relatively speaking if Argo and Riot are anything to go by.

One side effect of all this mania is that even mainstream investment funds are being dragged into the bitcoin mania. Take HANetfs HAN-GINS Tech Megatrend Equal Weight UCITS ETF (ITEK) which is an equal weighted technology megatrend ETF.

I’m quite a big fan of this equally weighted multi-thematic tech fund that invests in the following: Robotics & Automation, Cloud Computing & Big Data, Cyber Security, Future Cars, Genomics, Social Media, Blockchain and Digital Entertainment.

According to its issuers “ITEK avoids concentration in larger stocks by using a double diversification approach that allocates an equal weight to each innovative theme and then equal weights constituents within that theme”.

The managers now report that the fund has delivered a return of 5.54 % in the past week and 21.6 % year to date, and 88% over the12 months.

And care to guess what the  ITEK’s largest holding is?

Yep, Riot Blockchain, which makes up approx. 9% of its AUM.

HANetf reports that Riot shot up in value by 30% yesterday and is now up over 250% since Jan 1st 2021. According to the funds co-creator Anthony Ginsberg with ” the renewed focus on blockchain and cryptocurrencies we expect to see more blockchain companies being added to ETFs such as ITEK later in the year as they increase their liquidity.”

If Mr Ginsberg is right, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what impact that mainstreaming will have the value of currencies like Bitcoin? Yep, more positive momentum with the specialist blockchain and bitcoin mining firms a massively geared play on the underlying market. Maybe we haven’t seen anything yet for the likes of KR1? Gulp.