Rather than compare this to Algo Trading and discuss whether this is better or worse than a very bad runner card, I'd like to analyze C.I. Fund by itself.
A little bit of math tells us that you'll need to have CIF on the table for several turns before it changes from "expensive click-bait" to "econ card". Thankfully it's free to rez, and you can start investing in it the turn you rez it.
CIF's one saving grace is that you can take the money if a runner runs on it. After 1 or 2 turns investing, you can pay 2 to gain back your 3, so you've lost 2 and the to install. After 3 turns, you've only lost the . And after 4 turns, you will still profit from this, even if the runner runs it.
After 5 turns, it becomes the world's slowest Hedge Fund. I'm not convinced the 5 turns of protecting this thing make it worth the "Royalties with upside" effect.
The obvious weaknesses of the card are:
- a painfully low cost of 2
- expensive investment cost of 6
- several turns of being vulnerable before making a profit
- a one-time trigger before trashing
- it's an asset, so it requires its own server
It's looking bad. Let's try to make up for some of those drawbacks in the hypothetical situation that you actually wanted to include this in your deck.
- You can run this in an asset-friendly ID like Gagarin, IG, or CtM that can help to protect it. Similarly it is boosted by Encryption Protocol and Oaktown Grid, both of which are underrated IMO. Obviously, you also put ICE in front of it, making it even more expensive to trash.
- You can put this side-by-side with Bankers, meaning that it is "free" to invest in. If the runner doesn't trash CBG immediately, of course. Which they should if they want to, I don't know, try to win. You could also offload Adonis creds onto this directly for the same "free" investment.
- It would be interesting to give the runner other must-run options at the same time as this. "You can trash my CIF, or you can run my IAA'd agenda, or you can run this Sensie I just rezzed. It might be hard to run and trash all of those in one of the IDs mentioned.
Ultimately, CIF is doing what you don't want to do as corp: take forever. Yes, you could put this in your scoring server like you do an Adonis Campaign, wait 6 turns to make decent profit, then take your money and IAA an agenda. But that's 6 turns the runner had to set up and work towards their end-game.
So yeah, it's probably better than Algo, but only marginally. ;-)