If the reports are anywhere near accurate, Peter Thiel may soon enjoy one of the financial world’s all-time richest returns.
The Silicon Valley venture capitalist and others bought stakes in a crypto startup called Block.one back in July 2018, and the company is returning an eye-popping sum to early backers, according to a Bloomberg News story on May 21 (paywall), which continues to swirl around Wall Street.
Bloomberg said Block.one will return much as 6,567% to those stakeholders who opt to exercise a buyout, which would translate to $6.6 million on initial investments of $100,000, for example. It isn’t clear how much Thiel — an early backer in companies like Facebook Inc.
— invested in the crypto company.
Also unclear is whether the would-be payout is a reflection of a weekslong resurgence in the price of bitcoin, though it has pulled back in recent trade. Block.one, in crypto circles, is known for one of the largest capital raises, $4 billion, via controversial initial coin offerings, or ICOs, which have drawn scrutiny by financial regulators.
To put Block.one’s potential return in some perspective, over the past 12 months, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
is up 2.1%, the S&P 500 index
has gained more than 3% and the Nasdaq Composite Index
has gained 2.7%, according to FactSet data.
part, the digital asset topped $8,000 last week and has gained more than 100% in 2019. However, bitcoin’s gains are more muted over a 12-month period, returning just 2% since last May. Most recently, May bitcoin futures
traded at $7,745, down 2.5% on the day, according to Comex.
Why is Thiel investing in cryptos?
The entrepreneur is viewed widely as an eccentric tech tycoon whose libertarian leanings lend themselves to buying the asset that is the currency of choice within the antiestablishment community. Bitcoin was born in 2009, amid the financial crisis, when faith in global central banks and their ability to sustainably buttress world economies hit a low point.
Thiel was an early backer in President Donald Trump in 2016.
The investor’s interests extend to the cannabis world where he is an investor in the nascent industry, through companies like Tilray Inc.
Block.one — an entity that describes itself as a software company, produces the EOSIO blockchain as a free, open-source protocol — is run by Brendan Blumer.
Blockchains are the digital-ledger technology that underpins most digital assets, including bitcoin.
Bloomberg reported that Block.one’s assets include cash and investments, totaling $3 billion, as of the end of February. The company is registered in the Cayman Islands and operates mainly from Hong Kong.
It isn’t certain that Thiel will cash out at this stage.