Family Wealth Report

When launched, many funds claim to be the first of their kind. But is this necessarily always true?

A new fund launched earlier this week which was claimed to be the first of its kind in the space – a blockchain and crypto-currency fund of funds – may soon have a rival, according to Morningstar.

On Monday, US-headquartered Block Asset Management rolled out what it said was “the world’s first blockchain/crypto-currency fund of funds”, with combined assets under management exceeding $500 million.

But a figurehead from industry data giant Morningstar has suggested the fund already has a rival in the pipeline.

“Regarding Block Asset Management’s claim as the first fund of funds of crypto assets and blockchain, it has a competitor to this honour,” Kai Wu, project manager and leader of Morningstar’s blockchain initiative, told this publication. “Protocol Ventures announced itself as the first fund of funds shortly after it filed with the [US Securities and Exchange Commission] in October.”

Wu noted, however, that Morningstar “defines inception as the first date that securities are offered”, meaning that Block Asset Management may have been first to the finish line.

He added that Morningstar does not currently collect data on either fund, and that the firm has not been in touch with Block Asset Management or Protocol Ventures to verify the claims.

“Given the eye-popping returns that bitcoin and ethereum have seen this year, it’s no surprise to see a growing number of investment products that seek to meet investor demand in the space,” Wu said. “Legal risks have made institutional investors wary to enter the blockchain and crypto asset space directly, so investment products like fund of funds lower the barrier to entry by providing investment opportunities in familiar forms.”