Tiberius halts sales of metals-backed cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency mining computer fans are seen in front of bitcoin logo during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

LONDON (Reuters) - Tiberius Technology Ventures has called a temporary halt to sales of its metals-backed digital currency and will refund $1 million to investors, it said on Tuesday, citing high credit card fees that it said made the project unworkable.

The Tiberius Coin, or tcoin, was pitched as a more stable alternative to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the value of which has gyrated wildly.

The business was set up by Tiberius Group, a Swiss commodities fund that manages $300 million of investments and also mines and trades metals. By giving holders the ability to redeem coins for physically deliverable metals including aluminum and copper, Tiberius has said tcoins would have a reliable minimum value.

“At the beginning of October we received news that our credit card processors were going to make investing in Tiberius Coin difficult,” Tiberius Technology Ventures said in a statement to investors, citing additional fees of 15 percent.

The company’s refusal to accept such fees meant that some investors were unable to buy the currency, it said, and as a result it had decided to halt all tcoin sales temporarily.

“All investors who took part in the presale and current sale will have their money refunded,” it said.

Tiberius Technology Ventures said it had raised $1 million from 700 investors.

An initial coin sale for the currency began on Oct 1.

Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by David Goodman