Rockefeller’s VC Arm Venrock Partners With Coinfund, Exec Highlights Focus On Long Term
Venrock, the official venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family, has partnered with crypto investment group Coinfund to support cryptocurrency and Blockchain business innovation, Fortune reported April 6.
Coinfund has recently added token-based financial services platform Coinlist, a spinoff of startup connection website AngelList, to the number of projects that it backs. Coinfund is also known for backing chat messenger app Kik, which raised almost $100 mln in the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of its Kin token last fall. Fortune notes that Venrock and Coinfund met through their mutual investment in the live video streaming app maker YouNow.
When asked about Bitcoin’s (BTC) recent failure to strongly stay above $7,000, Venrock partner David Pakman told Fortune that the price of “a single currency over the next day, week, month, year” is not what they thought about when deciding to partner with a crypto investment group:
“We’re really patient long term investors [...] we’re wondering what happens over the next five to ten years. Can we have fundamental change to a number of different markets because of a disturbed ledger, a token economy that all participants can take part in?”
According to an April 6 blog post by Pakman, cryptocurrency and Blockchain’s most important innovation is their creation of “the possibility of building sustainable decentralized computing platforms, services and apps”, writing:
“It may finally be possible to build widely-distributed networks without centralized trust or control, and to allow user consensus to govern their future [...] In this scenario, ‘commodity’ applications like messaging, social media and application infrastructure like file storage and compute become very much like public utilities — and they are owned and governed by their participants. For many of us, this is the mission behind crypto.”
When asked by Fortune about the potential for scams running ICOs, specifically mentioning the recent news of the Centra-related arrests, Pakman referred to the crypto ecosystem as a “wild space up and down the whole stack,” with ICOs as “certainly one of the most wild spaces of it all.”
Pakman added that he supports regulations of the crypto sphere in order to clear out the “bad actors,” but that one needs to be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater here”.
Pakman also noted that decentralized systems could eventually be a competitor to traditional venture capital fundraising, which he referred to as “effectively a gatekeeper industry” that he would “actually like to see undone”, adding:
“I don’t believe that a small group of people should make the decisions about which projects can raise some money and get off the ground.”
Coinfund co-founder Jake Brukhman told Fortune that Coinfund will be “working closely with [Venrock] to help mentor, advise, and support teams in the space.”
Major traditional investor George Soros, who had previously referred to Bitcoin as a “bubble,” will also reportedly be investing in cryptocurrencies, through the Soros Fund Management. In mid-February, Soros’s investment fund become the number three shareholder in Overstock, a retail company that accepts Bitcoin as payment and whose CEO Patrick Byrne is widely known for his pro-crypto stance.