Whether a shrewd investment or not remains to be seen, however many experienced venture capital funds are turning their attention to Bitcoin, a dynamic which has been further strengthened by yesterday’s announcement by cryptocurrency data and research provider TradeBlock that it has raised $2.8 million in a new round of funding.
The investment round was led by Andreessen Horowitz and also included Barry Silbert, CEO of American online marketplace for buying and selling illiquid assets SecondMarket, Devonshire Investors, and FinTech Collective.
Marc Andreessen has substantial experience as an internet pioneer, being responsible for the development of the first widely used web browser, Mosaic, which came into being some 21 years ago, and has since been involved in the funding which has led a number of highly successful firms to fruition.
An interesting addition of expertise is Mr. Silbert, who was recently involved in the investment in Argentina’s fiat-to-Bitcoin processing service BitPagos, Argentina being a nation which has embraced Bitcoin on a national level since the nation’s government banned the use of US Dollars, introduced the worthless Cedin, and maintained strict capital control laws.
For Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital which is led by Mr. Andreessen, this investment is a milestone development in the move toward mainstream business for the entire Bitcoin ecosystem.
Previously, Andreessen Horowitz had invested in a series B round of funding for the now ubiquitous Coinbase, in which it stumped up $25 million.
TradeBlock seeks to utilize the funding to improve its order management system for OTC trading, which is likely to be a boon for FX firms which have taken the pioneering step last year of adding Bitcoin to their FX trading platforms, as well as for the recently established Bitcoin exchanges such as SBEX in Switzerland.
Greg Schvey, one of the co-founders of TradeBlock explained yesterday to CoinDesk that “We look at block chain technology as a protocol through which any titled asset can be transferred.” This statement alludes to a way forward for many tradable asset classes to utilize the methodology, not just restricting it to Bitcoin.
TradeBlock rebranded from Genesis Block recently, the company having commenced operations under its original designation as a website where its founders, Greg and Jeff Schvey could share analyses on market data relating to cryptocurrencies.
TradeBlock is the first proprietary research company in the ecosystem to publicly receive venture capital investment. In February this year, about 30 Bitcoin companies had received investment, almost all of which fell under the categories of exchange, financial services, mining hardware, payment processor and wallet categories.
Greg Schvey noted this upswing in investment interest, saying that TradeBlock has seen “significant interest from historic Wall Street firms and hedge funds” as opposed to existing players in the Bitcoin space.
George Orwell’s dystopian prediction of the potential evils of a cashless society were largely founded, however the intrepid Mr. Orwell’s writings only contained two fundamental areas which did not work out as he planned. He predicted that it would happen thirty years too early, and he also could never have imagined that a cashless society would actually generate further freedom, and would free its users from exactly the burdens and controls that he warned against.