The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin are held by the Founders Fund, a major American venture capital firm.
Founders Fund was set up by Peter Thiel in 2005. Thiel is a German-born, American entrepreneur best known for co-founding PayPal and then selling it to eBay for 1.5 billion USD. He has a personal net worth of approximately 2.6 billion USD, and holds leading roles at several major companies, including a spot on the board of Facebook.
He established the fund with the aim of investing in firms that develop new technology. Companies that have received investment money include LinkedIn, Airbnb, and Facebook. Overall, Founders Fund owns parts of more than 100 companies, and has assets under management of more than 3 billion USD.
Apparently, the fund bought Bitcoin worth 15-20 million USD a few years ago, and the wager has paid off handsomely as Bitcoin has skyrocketed in value.
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According to the Wall Street Journal, Thiel spoke on the subject of cryptocurrency at an investment conference in Saudi Arabia in October. Mr. Thiel described cryptocurrencies as “charismatic”.
“While I’m skeptical of most of them, I do think people are a little bit underestimating bitcoin, specifically, because it is like a reserve form of money,” he said.
The article notes that by buying Bitcoin directly, as opposed to buying a share of a company that deals in Bitcoin, the Founders Fund has deviated from its usual modus operandi.
The news of the holdings had not been reported previously, and Coinmarketcap shows that a drastic jump in Bitcoin price took place around the time of the article’s release.
At the moment, a single bitcoin is worth 15,400 USD. As Thiel said: “If bitcoin ends up being the cyber equivalent of gold, it has great potential.”