Benoit Tessier/Reuters

TOBAM, an investment firm which describes itself as a "smart beta pioneer", has launched the TOBAM Bitcoin Fund, an unregulated alternative investment fund, set up in France.

Paris-based TOBAM has about $8.8bn in assets under management. Since 2011, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has been a minority shareholder in TOBAM. The Bitcoin fund will allow qualified and institutional investors wanting to gain an exposure to the cryptocurrency, as well as a plethora of passive investing analytics.

As Bitcoin gradually pushes its way into the institutional investment space, the price has been rallying; many are predicting Bitcoin to hit $10,000 by the end of the year.

A statement said TOBAM's fund allows for the first time qualified investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency in a more convenient and safer vehicle. Through a transparent and rigorous investment process, the TOBAM Bitcoin fund namely integrates the management of potential forks as well as the mitigation of the risk of loss and theft, it said. To boot, TOBAM's in-house crypto-currency research and development team, includes computer specialists, engineers, researchers and risk management experts, said the statement.

Yves Choueifaty, President of TOBAM, said: "Research is the founding pillar of TOBAM, and we have conducted research from a technical, financial, economic, and regulatory point of view on Bitcoin for a year prior to launching this fund.

"This first move in the world of cryptocurrencies showcases our dedication to remaining ahead of the curve and to provide our clients with innovative products in the context of efficient (i.e. unpredictable) markets.

"Bitcoin being a highly diversifying asset, this launch is also an expression of our commitment to diversification in all its forms. Once again TOBAM is ahead of the curve and, in order to remain so, we will continue to reinvest a significant part of our growth into research and innovation for the best interest of our clients".

Christophe Roehri, Head of Business Development, said: "Direct investment in Bitcoin can be operationally challenging, from dealing with the choice of the platform, to maintaining the proper security measures in terms of custody and to managing the changes made to the protocol - hard forks.

"Our goal is to take control of these operational challenges in order to facilitate access for qualified investors willing to gain exposure to Bitcoin. All of that under the format of a fund. The fund is available to eligible investors worldwide on a private placement basis".