The following is a small recap of the “VC investment Opportunities in the Bitcoin space” panel that tay took place during day 1 of CoinSummit London 2014.
Panel : Barend van den Brande, Hummingbird Ventures, Jan Hammer, Index Ventures, Geoff Lewis Founders Fund, Steve Waterhouse, Pantera Capital
Moderated by Stephanie Baker, Bloomberg
Is Bitcoin trending?
Venture capitalists are more bullish on Bitcoin in the United States, so it is trending in that regard. With Bitcoin now being accepted for political donations, it will play out in different positive ways. The foundation has been laid to attract more investors.
“We are going to need something mobile and social for the next 10 million people entering the Bitcoin ecosystem. “
What kind of pitches are you seeing, and what would you like to see?
Emerging markets are some of the best-use cases. Take BitPesa for example , allowing people to send Bitcoin to other people in Kenya via SMS.
(We will do an article on BitPesa later this week)
Is it getting more competitive to get good deals?
There is definitely a greater awareness. We see a lot of catch-up going on, but we would like to see more emphasis from entrepreneurs on smart, easy-to-use consumer applications.
The merchant side has advanced ahead of the consumer side, which is a noteworthy trend.
Most of the VC community, especially in Europe, is in listening mode and not actively investing.
“The spectrum is very polarised : love it or hate it.”
What is the goal of VCs when it comes to Bitcoin?
Bitcoin could become of the most important technological advancements in the world. Therefor, venture capitalists are backing great entrepreneurs who are building great projects. A lot of us are looking at great franchises that could become billion dollar companies.
Will we see major retailers accepting Bitcoin?
NewEgg and Zynga announced adoption of Bitcoin, as progress is incremental. Every brand name added to the list validates the opportunity for this payment method. Besides, time works in favor of Bitcoin
“A lot of companies are trying to figure out the strategy, and companies who have the infrastructure are pushing hard to increase adoption. We need widespread merchant acceptance.”
“Crowdfunding could play an important role in getting more investment funds flowing to Bitcoin companies.“
Is regulation influencing the decisions and actions of VC investors?
On the macro level, Bitcoin encourages the existing fiat-currency banking system to interface with virtual currency.
On the micro level : when it comes to Bitcoin, companies hold a high standard in regards to procedures as if they were regulated under legislation of being a financial institution
“The whole system will benefit in the long term.”
“The US Marshal Bitcoin sell-off was a huge positive signal . I think we are all pleasantly surprised on how fast things have moved.”
Are there emerging areas where governments are more accommodating towards Bitcoin, and will this lead to more start-up companies?
We are definitely looking at Europe for investing possibilities. However, it is still a bit of challenge for new companies. The relations with the banking systems are a key focal point, but there are definitely banks willing to work with Bitcoin companies. (e.g. Fidor Bank – article later this week)
Is Bitcoin more ripe for crowdfunding compared to other tech investing?
Not necessarily no, however, getting customers together with the investment could be a benefit for Bitcoin.
Any investment opportunities in the altcoin space?
Where do you see the Bitcoin price going?
All numbers (adoption, services, merchants, wallets, transactions,…) are rising, so the price will go up in correlation with that
“People need to stop looking at short-term price changes, but zoom out to get a better perspective.”