Hedge Fund Passport Bets on Bitcoin

John Burbank and his hedge fund Passport Capital plans to “launch a new arm that focuses only on cryptocurrencies” in an effort to match his financial crisis-era success. This according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Burbank became well-known by purchasing credit default swaps ahead of the financial crisis, which led to a more than 200% gain for his main fund in 2007 (and personal profits of $370 million).  Since that time, however, the firm hasn’t had the same success—the article cites a heavy bet on gold mining companies in 2014 as one example. Passport now manages only a fraction of its once $5 billion asset pool, the article reports, adding that the firm’s flagship fund was “down double digits last year, and was down again in 2017.”

The cryptocurrency bitcoin, the article says, is “the best-performing financial asset of the year, up 1,600% in 2017,” adding that it got a “bump in popularity this year after regulators in various countries approved more extensive trading in it.”