By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
(Reuters) - Swiss investment firm Final Frontier and global blockchain technology company the Bitfury Group, which was recently valued at $1 billion, on Wednesday announced the launch of a regulated bitcoin mining fund.
The fund is under the supervision of Liechtenstein's financial regulator.
Both companies, however, did not disclose the size of the fund, which was developed by Final Frontier for institutional and professional investors to gain access to the esoteric world of bitcoin mining.
Bitcoin mining entails updating the ledger of bitcoin transactions known as the blockchain. Miners run extremely powerful computers in a race against other miners to guess a specific number. The first miner to guess the number gets to update the ledger of transactions and also receives a reward of 12.5 newly minted bitcoins.
Bitfury, which holds a minority stake in Switzerland-based Final Frontier, said in a statement it is providing the hardware and end-to-end services for the bitcoin mining fund. The mining sites where the equipment will be deployed will be in locations scouted and serviced by Bitfury.
The fund will invest in turnkey assets consisting of mining sites with some of the lowest electricity and operating costs globally that feature Bitfury data centers, both companies said.
Imraan Moola, co-founder of Final Frontier, said the firm is launching the fund at an advantageous time for investors. "With the bitcoin price down significantly from its all-time high, yet institutional interest growing every day, now may be an opportune time to consider investing in bitcoin mining," Moola said.
Bitcoin has trended higher the last few weeks, trading up nearly 4 percent at $5,594.65 on the Bitstamp platform late Tuesday.
That rally has made bitcoin mining more profitable, said crypto analyst Alex Kruger, noting that profits have risen since the start of April.
He said on Twitter that the break-even cost for efficient bitcoin mining operations currently hovers around $3,550 to $4,350, while the price of bitcoin is in the $5,500-plus range. That ensures a $1,000-plus profit for each bitcoin mined.
Bitfury late last year raised $80 million from investors including the merchant bank founded by billionaire Mike Novogratz, a former macro hedge fund manager at Fortress Investment Group. That funding pushed Bitfury's valuation to $1 billion.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)