Bitcoin firm raises funding from Bain, New York Life, MasterCard

Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:05pm EDT
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By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK Oct 27 (Reuters) - Digital Currency Group, a holding firm focused on investing and developing businesses that deal in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has raised funding from some of the biggest U.S. financial names, founder and chief executive officer Barry Silbert said on Tuesday.

Bain Capital Ventures, the Boston-based venture capital unit of private equity firm Bain Capital, credit card company MasterCard, insurance giant New York Life Insurance Company, and Canadian bank CIBC were four of the company's new investors.

The holding company (DCG) is currently building and supporting the largest early-stage investment portfolio in digital currencies and the blockchain, the underlying technology behind bitcoin.

Silbert, a prominent bitcoin advocate and investor, declined to disclose the amount of funding raised from the new investors.

The other investors in DCG include a range of venture capital firms and family offices such as FirstMark Capital, Novel TMT, Oak HC/FT, RRE Ventures, Solon Mack Capital, and Transamerica Ventures.

Bain, CIBC, New York Life, Mastercard, FirstMark, Novel, Oak, and Transamerica are investing in bitcoin for the first time, Silbert said.

Structuring DCG as a company and not a fund is a strategic business decisions, Silbert said, and the business model is similar to that of Berkshire Hathaway, founded by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

"Setting it up this way gives us flexibility," said Silbert, in an email to Reuters. "We can start companies, invest in companies, buy companies, etc and it gives us patient, permanent capital."   Continued...