Fortress, Hedge Fund Join Forces For Bitcoin Deals

Mar 19 2014 | 11:00am ET

Despite bitcoin’s recent difficulties, Fortress Investment Group remains bullish on the digital currency.

The alternative investments giant has entered a joint-venture with hedge fund Pantera Capital Management and two venture-capital firms. Pantera Bitcoin Partners, which will be controlled by its namesake, will make bitcoin-related investments.

While Pantera will run the joint venture, Fortress, Benchmark Capital and Ribbit Capital will own a stake in the business and will house their existing and future bitcoin-related investments there. Pantera is already running Fortress’ bitcoin investments; Fortress executive Michael Novogratz has called Pantera founder Dan Morehead “our man when it comes to bitcoin.”

“This partnership brings together leading companies with a range of relevant expertise, well positioned to lead and capitalize on a potentially transformative evolution,” Novogratz told The New York Times.

Pantera set up its Pantera Bitcoin Advisors last year with $147 million. The business created a stir earlier this month with word that it had invested about $10 million in bitcoin exchange Bitstamp Ltd., which has emerged as the world’s largest dollar-bitcoin exchange since the collapase of Mt. Gox last month.

Pantera’s investment in Bitstamp is believed to be one of the largest in a bitcoin venture ever.

Morehead, a Tiger Management alumnus, told The Wall Street Journal that he and his San Francisco-based hedge fund, formerly a macro shop, are now entirely focused on bitcoin.

“I have been fascinated by the promise that it can bring changes to the way we interact with money,” he told the Journal. “So about a year ago, I decided to being investing in bitcoin and devoting my full attention to it.”

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