Britain’s largest online trading platform, Hargreaves Lansdown, is to allow its customers to invest in bitcoin, the alternative digital currency. Choose Telegraph Investor for fast, efficient online dealing in ISAs, SIPPS and Trading accounts. This is a fund listed on funds investing in bitcoin stock exchange, meaning it can be bought and sold like a share. XBT buys complicated “synthetic” certificates, listed in US dollars, that aim to track the price of bitcoin.

The ETN itself is denominated in Swedish krona. British investors are therefore exposed to two levels of currency risk. As such an investment in the certificates is likely to be highly volatile and thus risky. Danny Cox of Hargreaves Lansdown said: “We have seen a handful of clients asking for the ETN, so it’s not purely driven by a provider wanting to be listed . We are making it available to self-select investors in the same way we offer access to around 3,000 other exchange-traded funds, notes and commodities. Mr Cox added that Hargreaves already allowed investors to access the Bitcoin Investment Trust.

389m fund is run by Grayscale Investments, which specialises in “crypto-currencies”. By adding self-service, online dealing, the team at Hargreaves Lansdown is providing UK investors with professional and quick access to bitcoin in the UK and greater Europe,” said Ryan Radloff, XBT’s head of investor relations. Crypto-currencies came to notice following the launch of bitcoin by a developer under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Online currencies are beyond the control of the world’s central banks and allow anonymous transactions. The price of bitcoin has surged since the start of the year. The currency has long been linked to the online underworld. Carillion collapse: will pensions still be paid?