Block.one, the company behind what is currently the world’s fifth largest market cap cryptocurrency EOS, received investments from billionaire PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel, Bitmain’s Jihan Wu, and two hedge fund billionaires, Louis Bacon of Moore Capital, and Alan Howard of Brevan Howard.
Although the amount raised hasn’t been publicly released now has the backing of several key strategic partners. EOS, which raised upwards of $4 billion from its public crowdsale which started June 2017, seems to be filling in some very important gaps in its strategy.
Here’s the who’s who and what’s what:
Block.one: made the EOSIO software, a blockchain protocol to support dApps at a large scale (similar to Ethereum). Block.one is run by CEO Brandan Bloomer and CTO Dan Larimer (the co-founder of Steemit and Bitshares, and inventor of the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) consensus mechanism.
Peter Thiel: A long-time Bitcoin proponent, Thiel is also a very successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist notorious for his contrarian beliefs and ideology. In recent years, Thiel made headlines for his under-the-radar role in bringing the $250M-valued controversial gossip site Gawker to bankruptcy over a Hulk Hogan sex-tape (welcome to 2016). Thiel is also known for being the first outside investor in Facebook and was an early backer of Airbnb and SpaceX.
Peter Thiel also started the Thiel Fellowship, a program that gives talented young people $100,000 grants to drop out of school and work on their projects. Interestingly enough, Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin was a Thiel Fellow (Ethereum and EOS are direct competitors for creating a scaleable dApp platform.
Jihan Wu: Wu is the co-founder of the crypto mining and mining hardware behemoth Bitmain, which is estimated to have over a 75 percent share of the Bitcoin mining chip market. With his co-founder Micree Zhan, Wu is rumored to be worth upwards of $5.3 billion.
Strategy is the Name of the Game
While the above information already reveals a powerful partnership at play, let’s take some time to further speculate.
Peter Thiel supported Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. As one of the only Silicon Valley tech moguls to publicly endorse Trump, Thiel has put himself in a relatively trusted position with the President of the United States. Billionaires vying for POTUS attention is a story of the ages. Having a billionaire cryptocurrency supporter with a connection to the president, who also has a reputation for savvy underdog bets that payoff big-time as an investor can’t be a bad thing.
The Beijing-headquartered Bitmain likely has some regulatory connections that can be favorable to EOS. In a time where regulation is an extremely hot topic that could make or break dApp platforms like EOS, having a connection in a country like China, which has a massive population and is incredibly strict on cryptocurrency.
As if having $4 billion from a crowdsale isn’t enough, Block.one was able to attract a few heavy-hitter investors known for their premier strategy. This means that Block.one will likely be able to attract any additional capital it needs just from the Thiel/Bacon/Howard/Wu stamp of approval, should it ever need it. Additionally, since Block.one is building its own dApp platform and has its own venture capital arm, it has essentially opened the doors for many projects within the EOS ecosystem to raise capital from interested investors. As platforms such as Ethereum, NEO, and Qtum compete to attract developers, EOS looks to be setting what could be an unbelievably sweet opportunity to build in its ecosystem.
While this appears to be awesome news for Block.one and EOS, it’s worth noting that EOS is not without its scandals and short-comings. Our very own Steven Buchko investigated and put EOS on trial.
Having figures like Thiel and Wu as strategic investors generally bode well for any startup in the cryptocurrency space.
Let’s see how this plays out.
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