Teddy Sagi, the Israeli businessman and owner of London’s Camden Market, has invested in a Ukrainian blockchain startup company called Distributed Lab, according to cryptocurrency news source ForkLog.
— ForkLog (@ForkLog) August 6, 2018
Vladimir Dubinin, CEO of Distributed Lab, confirmed the investment but did not disclose details, promising to make an announcement in the near future.
Building a financial internet
According to its website, Distributed Lab uses blockchain technology to facilitate more efficient trade by representing assets as tokens. It aims to offer this service to companies that wish to make their merchandise more liquid. It has developed four ‘enterprise tokenization platforms’, for real estate, investment funds, crowdfunding and remittances.
Projects listed on its website include BullionCoin, a gold and silver-backed token; Swarm, a blockchain-based investment marketplace; Shelf, which synchronises auctions on a distributed network; and Bitxfy, a wallet that allows the exchange of Bitcoin/Ukrainian hryvnia.
Founder Pavel Kravchenko says: “Our mission is to build [a] financial internet — when every accounting system in the world will be able to transact with each other freely.”
In an interview with ForkLog in June 2017, Kravchenko said that 99 percent of blockchain startups do not present a viable product after completing their initial coin offerings.
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One of the richest men in Israel
This is Sagi’s first investment in a blockchain-based company.
Originally from Tel Aviv, Sagi is worth an estimated $3.6 billion. He made his money through real estate, gambling software, advertising and payment processing.
He founded Playtech, a gambling software developer and distributor, in 1999. It is based in the Isle of Mann and is currently worth £1.75 billion ($2.3 billion). Between November 2016 and June 2017 Sagi sold off parts of his share in the company for a total of £780 million.
He is most famous, in London anyway, for purchasing the company that owns that city’s iconic Camden Market. The sale was worth £400 million in March 2014. His other real estate investments include buying 44 percent of Brack Capital Properties of the Netherlands, which develops properties in Germany.
In August 2017 he purchased a British brokerage called Alpha for an initial payment of $5 million. It was renamed to TradeTech Group and absorbed by Playtech. TradeTech processed approximately $1.3 trillion in 2017. He is also the majority shareholder at Safecharge, a payment clearing firm that made $111.7 million in revenue last year.
Millionaires looking at cryptocurrency
There is a growing interest in cryptocurrency amongst those with money spare for investments. This is reflected in the behaviour of financial institutions and birth rate of investment funds.
For example, in June 2018 a partner of major hedge fund Sequoia Capital created a cryptocurrency investment fund with a co-founder of blockchain company Coinbase. Another example is BlackRock, which formed a cryptocurrency team in July 2018 – two months after some of its employees left to create their own cryptocurrency fund.
In fact, in June 2018 research found that no less than 61 cryptocurrency investment funds had been created in 2018 up to that point, and 140 in 2017.
A couple of Swiss private banks have also begun offering cryptocurrency management services as a result of client demand.