Thiel’s Founders Fund Has Been Quietly Buying Bitcoin Since 2012

Bitcoin has gained global popularity in the past year, but it’ h been popular at Peter Thiel’ s venture firm since a minimum of 2012.

Founders Fund, Thiel’ s San Francisco-based firm reputed for early bets on SpaceX plus Airbnb, has been purchasing small amounts associated with bitcoin in recent years, totaling no more than 20 dollars million, to establish a " toehold" in the space, according to a person along with knowledge of the matter. Those bitcoin holdings are now worth several hundred mil dollars, though Founders Fund offers yet to return any gains in order to its investors, said the person, who else asked not to be identified since the investment hasn’ t been widely disclosed. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the firm’ s bitcoin purchases.

As the investment amounts to a rounding mistake for Thiel’ s firm, that has more than $3 billion under administration, it represents a departure in the way most venture investors possess approached the bitcoin space.

Venture capital firms plowed more than $1. 38 billion directly into blockchain startups — companies focusing on the technology underlying bitcoin — during 2016 and 2017, based on research firm CB Insights. Utilizes of the blockchain, a decentralized journal system, range from enterprise software plus e-commerce to the more buzzy bitcoin currency exchanges, trading platforms plus mining companies.

In bankrolling the infrastructure to support the electronic currency, investors including Draper Affiliates and Andreessen Horowitz have taken the measured approach, backing blockchain technologies rather than buying bitcoin itself.

The performance gap among bitcoin-related startups and bitcoin like a currency has been a sore point throughout partner meetings at some venture companies. Startup shares are illiquid plus take an average of seven to ten years to deliver a return, and 90 % of such companies fail. Several VC partners argue that a direct expenditure in the currency would have been better than backing the startups, despite the fact that it’ s not a traditional endeavor deal, pointing to the surge within bitcoin value — it leaped about 1, 400 percent within 2017 — and the fact that it could be traded immediately.

Using bitcoin prices hovering around $14, 700, it’ s doubtful regardless of whether any venture investors still visit a bargain.

Back in Nov, Thiel thought bitcoin’ s cost was very high, said the person acquainted with Founders Fund. The investor experienced comfortable buying it at about $2, 000 to $3, 000, the individual said.

A Founders Fund spokeswoman verified that the firm invested in bitcoin facilities companies BitPay, BitGo, Polychain plus MetaStable, but declined to discuss the firm’ s ownership associated with bitcoin.