Hedge Fund Backs Top Bitcoin Exchange

Mar 17 2014 | 12:51pm ET

Hedge fund Pantera Capital Management has helped fuel Bitstamp Ltd.’s rise to become the biggest dollar-bitcoin exchange in the world.

Pantera invested about $10 million in Bitstamp late last year, one of the largest single investments in a bitcoin venture, Bloomberg News reports. In spite of the controversial cryptocurrency’s recent difficulties, it appears to have paid off, presaging Bitstamp’s emergence as the top dollar-bitcoin exchange.

Bitstamp is now home to as much as 50% of the world’s dollar-bitcoin trade, capturing much of the business that formerly went through the collapsed Mt. Gox.

Pantera hopes to build its brand in the bitcoin industry. The investment in Bitstamp followed a Pantera-hosted conference for bitcoin entrepreneurs in Lake Tahoe last week.

The firm last year launched its Pantera Bitcoin Advisors fund with $147 million. The firm is perhaps best-known for counting Fortress Investment Group executives among its clients; one of them, Michael Novogratz, a bitcoin enthusiast himself, called Pantera founder Dan Morehead “our man when it comes to bitcoin.” Novogratz attended the Lake Tahoe meeting.

Morehead, the former CFO and macro trading chief at Tiger Management, founded San Francisco-based Pantera in 2003.

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