Andreessen, others, invest in U.S. digital currency fund

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S.-based Multicoin Capital, an asset management firm with a long-term positive view on digital currencies, has raised capital from a slew of big individual and institutional investors led by influential venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, its co-founder and managing partner told Reuters.

Kyle Samani, who co-founded Multicoin Capital last October, said capital raised from investors would help the firm reach a $250-million funding target for its flagship crypto fund, which currently has about $50 million, by the end of the end of June.

Multicoin views cryptocurrencies as a long-term investment, typically three to four years. That’s far longer than the typical horizon of digital currency funds of just a few months.

“What you’re seeing is the next wave of serious investment coming to an exciting, recently-legitimized asset class,” Samani said in an interview late on Wednesday.

Digital currencies such as bitcoin have emerged as a new asset class over the last two years as its underlying technology called the blockchain, an online database, has gained worldwide acceptance from corporations and financial institutions.

Multicoin is one of 225 crypto funds across seven strategy types, with combined assets estimated at $3.5 billion to $5 billion, according to data from Autonomous NEXT. The funds invest in cryptocurrencies, which use cryptography for security.

Aside from Andreessen, who co-founded the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, Multicoin’s investors include David Sacks, the first chief operating officer of PayPal Holdings Inc and founder of enterprise social network Yammer Inc, and Elad Gil, co-founder of genomic testing company Color Genomics, Samani said.

Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and Bill Lee, a partner at Craft Ventures also invested in Multicoin, he said.

Multicoin’s funding reflects a trend in which venture capital partners and investors are turning to crypto funds as individual investors. Most traditional venture capital firms have investor agreements that bar them from deploying cash into high-risk assets, such as digital currencies.

“While there are lots of similarities between crypto investing and traditional startup investing, there are many differences,” Samani said.

“Most obviously, crypto assets become liquid much sooner in their life cycles than traditional private equity,” he added. “In addition to liquidity, everything in crypto is open source, which requires thinking about investing in a fundamentally different way.”

Samani said he believes there could be consolidation in the crypto funds industry, and he expects sub-scale funds to have difficulty surviving.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Peter Szekely

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