Based in Menlo Park, CA, Pantera was founded in 2003 by Dan Morehead and originally focused on global macro hedge fund investments. The firm shifted its focus to the blockchain industry in 2013, and was at that time backed by major venture capitalist firms Fortress Investment Group, Benchmark Capital and Ribbit Capital.
Pantera Capital moved from managing global macro hedge fund investments in 2013, and claims that it was the first U.S.-based Bitcoin and blockchain technology investment firm. Since its pivot, the firm has accrued a large and diverse set of venture investments of prominent blockchain companies such as Bakkt, Brave, Circle, ShapeShift, Ripple and Zcash. In one of its first moves, Pantera invested $10 million in Bitstamp in what was the largest single investment in a bitcoin related venture at the time.
In 2014, Pantera launched the BitIndex, which tracks bitcoin adoption and considers factors such as Google searches for “bitcoin,” the amount of merchants that accept bitcoin payments and bitcoin’s hashrate, among other things. The index does not track bitcoin’s price, nor does it take investor activity into account.
In 2015, Pantera led a $1.1 million funding round for bitcoin payments startup BitPesa, a blockchain payments startup and digital foreign exchange that focuses on payments to and from African markets. In 2016, Pantera Capital started a hedge fund, the Pantera ICO Fund LP, which aimed to raise $100 million for investments in public blockchain projects whose operations rely on tokens.
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