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Silicon Valley venture capitalist and billionaire Peter Thiel has made a new investment in the crypto world. The PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor was part of the Cayman Islands-based start-up Block.one’s recent fundraising announcement, according to Bloomberg. He is joined by other large-scale investors such as billionaire Jihan Wu’s Bitmain, Louis Bacon, and Alan Howard.
The blockchain start-up recently raised a record-setting $4 billion to fund its blockchain platform EOSIO through an ICO. The fundraising campaign ended up netting more than double the next largest ICO in history as well as eclipsing the world’s largest IPO’s on stock exchanges.
Block.one is a software publisher that specializes in high-performance blockchain technologies, with it’s first open-sourced project, EOSIO, being a blockchain protocol designed to ensure secure data transfer as well as high-performance applications. Ever since its introduction into the market in May 2017, the company has received global recognition as one of the premier blockchain platforms created with developers in mind.
“As Block.one prepares to announce its future plans, we’re excited to welcome key strategic investors aligned with our values of creating a more secure and connected world,” said Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer in a recent press release.
This investment round followed Block.one’s most recent announcement that former Jefferies Asia CEO, Mike Alexander, will lead Block.one’s EOS venture capital arm and that former CFO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Rob Jesudason, was appointed company Group President.
Thiel, whose history in venture capital extends back many years since co-founding PayPal in 1998, is also known for co-founding the venture-capital firm Founders Fund, which has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency in 2017. According to The Wall Street Journal, Thiel is cited as being highly familiar with the subject, as well as saying that he was “long bitcoin.”
Chinese billionaire Jihan Wu was another big name in the announcement, as his Beijing based Bitmain – the largest producer of chips used for cryptocurrency mining – was another contributor to the Block.one fundraising round. “The EOSIO protocol is a great example of blockchain innovation. Its performance and scalability can meet the needs of demanding consumer applications and will pave the way for mainstream blockchain adoption,” Wu said in a statement.
These positive announcements have come in spite of recent governance-related hurdles earlier this year. Just recently back in June (after going live for one week) the EOS Core Arbitration Forum (ECAF) – a body set up to resolve disputes on the platform – issued an “emergency measure of protection order,” freezing 27 separate accounts.
Even more controversially, the ECAF didn’t explain the reason for its order, leading to a wave of criticism from both within and outside the EOS community. Chief among the concerns being that EOS was not truly a decentralized network but subject to something similar to a central government.
Regardless, Block.one’s successful ICO will go down in history as one of 2018’s most significant offerings. Now the fifth-most valuable cryptocurrency on the market with a market cap of over $7.2 billion, the money raised from the token sale will help build a new operating system specifically for blockchain development, similar to systems like Linux, Apple, and Windows.
This OS is intended to support more efficient operations for “decentralized applications” in contrast to existing development tools, such as Ethereum. If EOSIO is a success, proponents suggest that it could usher in a new age of blockchain-related technology. In contrast, detractors suspect added pressure from high-profile investors will injure Block.one’s team as they recover from a shaky mainnet launch. Regardless of where one falls on the spectrum of support for EOSIO, everyone in crypto will be carefully watching how this process unfolds.