An asset manager nicknamed '50 Cent' made $1.1 billion on bitcoin in 5 months – and could place more crypto bets in the future | Currency News | Financial and Business News

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  • An asset manager nicknamed "50 Cent" made a $1.1 billion profit on bitcoin in five months.
  • Ruffer invested about $600 million in November and cashed out the last of its coins in April.
  • The firm warned that younger people could lose interest in crypto once lockdowns end.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

An asset manager nicknamed "50 Cent" made a $1.1 billion profit on bitcoin in the space of five months, The Sunday Times reported.

Ruffer – a London-based firm that boasts $32 billion of client assets – plowed around $600 million into bitcoin last November, when the cryptocurrency was trading below $20,000. It cashed out some of its coins after they doubled in value in December and early January, then sold the rest in April as their price approached record highs of over $60,000.

Hamish Baillie, an investment director at Ruffer, told The Sunday Times that stimulus checks have fueled some of the recent demand for crypto. He also suggested that younger people's interest in digital coins could falter as lockdowns end and economies reopen.

Read more: A 22-year Wall Street veteran who is now the CEO of a crypto bank told us how the 2008 global financial crisis led her to bitcoin – and breaks down where the real value of cryptocurrencies lies today

Moreover, Baillie predicted that institutions will keep buying bitcoin and embrace it as an alternative haven asset for their portfolios. Future bets by Ruffer on the coin are "certainly not off the menu," he added.

The Ruffer executive called out "hyperbole and misinformation" around bitcoin's energy consumption, which recently spurred Tesla CEO Elon Musk to halt his company's acceptance of the coin as payment for its cars.

Baillie also underscored the "huge social benefits" of bitcoin in countries such as Venezuela, where runaway inflation is rapidly eroding the value of their currencies. "It's been a wonderful store of value," he said.

Ruffer's bitcoin windfall marks its second big win in the past 18 months. It raked in $2.6 billion when the pandemic tanked markets in spring 2020, as its bets on VIX and credit derivatives, S&P 500 and Euro Stoxx put options, and gold hedges paid off. Those gains offset almost all of its losses in the period.

Read more: A 29-year-old crypto billionaire shares how investors can use Tesla or Apple stock as collateral to buy bitcoin or ether

The fund was branded "50 Cent" after it bought VIX derivatives for 50 cents each in early 2018. The original "50 Cent," rapper Curtis Jackson, might be a little envious of Ruffer's bitcoin trade. He was paid around 700 bitcoins for album sales in 2014, but they were converted into dollars before he received them. Those coins would be worth about $25 million today.

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