The goal of the Digital Currency Fund is to start providing the resources necessary to fuel the digital currency ecosystem, says Liberty City Ventures partner Dorothy Jean.
“In order for Bitcoin to become mainstream, we're going to need a variety of world-class services/products that include exchanges, banks, brokerages, payment systems and other parts of a typical financial system,” Jean said in an e-mail to CoinDesk.
“We are committed to fueling the growth of this ecosystem by backing serious Bitcoin startups," Jean added. "The complex nature of payment systems and regulation around them is inherently capital-intensive, and that’s why we thought now would be the time to dedicate a fund to this sector.”
Jean says Liberty City’s partners have been investing in financial services and payment companies for more than 15 years: “We’ve been interested in currencies for a long time and we see digital currencies as being a step function more evolved.”
She continued, “In 2010, we took notice of Bitcoin as an interesting alternative that addresses many of the issues with fiat-based currencies. Initially we were active miners and investors. Over the last few years and especially in the last few months, we really started to see how bitcoin has the potential to become the de facto currency of the internet and in real life.”
Liberty City’s new fund isn’t the first of its kind. SecondMarket founder and CEO Barry Silbert recently launched the Bitcoin Opportunity Fund.
Liberty City says it’s also working on building a supportive community around bitcoin startups: “We are putting together a bitcoin incubator in NYC as a community for a few early-stage Bitcoin-focused companies.”
The company hosts and sponsors the monthly NY Bitcoin Startups Meetup.
Silicon Valley accelerator Boost VC is also taking an interest in new ventures around digital currencies, dedicating $350,000 to funding bitcoin-focused startups.
Boost provides a 12-week program for startup companies that includes housing, office space, mentoring and a cash investment.
Boost’s goal is to help make bitcoin simple for non-technical users, according to founder Adam Draper.
“We are especially interested in startups that make it easier to actually spend bitcoin currency,” Draper told Wired.com. “Security is another big opportunity. If bitcoin is to succeed as a global currency and really start being used for transactions, everyone needs to trust it.”
Boost VC has already accepted two bitcoin startups into its latest class, Wired reports, with money set aside for at least five more. The application deadline is June 1, and the next program starts on June 24.
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