Photo courtesy of Breitman

Tezos Co-Creator Commits to Donating Millions in Future XTZ Proceeds

Brady Dale
Aug 5, 2019 at 16:25 UTC
Updated Aug 6, 2019 at 05:39 UTC
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The Takeaway:

  • When the $232 million Tezos token sale took place, a Tezos Foundation was created to launch the protocol. It also committed to purchase the company that created it, Dynamic Ledger Solutions, founded by Arthur and Kathleen Breitman.
  • Now, Kathleen Breitman has signed a binding commitment with Founders Pledge to give 15 percent of her portion of the proceeds of that sale to charity, CoinDesk has confirmed.
  • It will be at least four years until Breitman has access to the full proceeds, so the ultimate value of her commitment ultimately depends on the performance of XTZ and cryptocurrencies contributed in the sale.
  • Estimating a present value for the commitment is complicated by ongoing legal disputes around the Tezos ICO, but if the sale had been consummated already, the value of Arthur and Kathleen Breitman’s XTZ together would be $97 million.

The first thing Kathleen Breitman wants you to know is that she doesn’t hold any XTZ yet. But when she does, she’s giving away 15 percent of her share to charity.

Breitman, one of the co-founders of the Tezos blockchain, has signed a binding commitment with Founders Pledge to donate a portion of her initial coin offering (ICO) proceeds. Tezos raised $232 million in mid-2017 in what was the largest ICO at the time. Breitman says she’s in no rush to cash out. Her eventual gifts should amount to millions of dollars, though, that depends on how Tezos and crypto perform in the next few years.

“I haven’t exercised the put option for Tezos yet, but I have signed the pledge,” Breitman told CoinDesk. “I think a lot more founders in the space should consider doing this.”

The price of XTZ over the last week via Coinbase data.

How lucrative the pledge may end up being is still to be determined, however.

Per the terms of the Tezos fundraising documents, the Tezos Foundation has committed to acquire the company that Breitman owns in part, Dynamic Ledger Solutions (DLS), though it will not pay the full price till a full four years have passed and the Tezos blockchain has met certain performance criteria.

If the acquisition had simply happened on the day the sale closed, the Breitmans would have earned approximately $17.7 million from the proceeds alone, plus roughly 68 million XTZ, which would be worth approximately $97 million at today’s prices. The Breitmans own 90 percent of DLS, Kathleen told CoinDesk.

It is not known whether the contract calls for them to be paid in a percentage of the bitcoin and ether from the sale or in the spot value of those assets in dollars. As of now, Kathleen is the only member of the Breitman family that has made a commitment to Founders Pledge.

Regardless, Breitman has committed to giving 15 percent of her earnings from that sale.

“I also liked the idea of credible commitments, because that’s part of why blockchains are powerful,” she said.

Breitman’s causes

Founders Pledge aims to get as many entrepreneurs as possible to commit a part of their potential exit winnings to charitable purposes.

Late last year, forecasters projected that 2019 alone could see $200 billion in initial public offerings.

“We’re thrilled about Kathleen making this meaningful commitment to do good and joining the Founders Pledge community,” Founders Pledge President Matt Hunter told CoinDesk. “We’re currently working on some big things for crypto investors and entrepreneurs which we can’t talk about just yet, but we’re very excited.”

Breitman tells CoinDesk she has appreciated joining the community of founders who have also taken the pledge. She likes the way fellow founders think about engaging with social change.

“Obviously you start a company because you want to solve a problem,” Breitman explained. “That attitude carrying over to a charitable environment makes for really compelling conversations.”

She’s still thinking about where she might put her commitment. “I don’t have to decide until I actually do it,” Breitman said. She says she volunteered at youth services non-profit Covenant House in college and she still values their work.

“I [also] think there’s a lot of interesting progress going on in different disease categories,” she added.

More crypto donors

CoinDesk has also confirmed that Joey Krug, one of the key creators of Augur, now at Pantera Capital, has also signed the Founders Pledge.

Krug’s commitment is a little more open-ended. He plans to give 5 percent of his next exit on whatever the next company he founds ends up being. It’s not clear what that will be or when, however. “It’s kind of just a no-brainer,” Krug told CoinDesk.

As a member of the team at Pantera, he’s also helped Founders Pledge get introduced to the new startup leaders he’s backed. Kathleen noted that there’s been talk of social good efforts in crypto, but it still tends to be a bit inwardly focused.

“I think a lot of the cryptocurrency stuff is more centered around making cryptocurrencies an action of charity,” Breitman said. “I think for efficacy, my personal philosophy would be like: Hey, to whom much is given, it’s better to do something more helpful in the short term”

Breitman said that she wants to “target things where money can be spent more immediately and less moonshot-y stuff, since that is how I would define my day job.”

Krug is following a fairly similar approach. He expects he’ll give about half of his eventual exit to known non-profits with a good track record of preventing death, disease or disability (such as the Malaria Foundation). He’ll probably also give half to some kind of neglected basic research.

For example, Krug noted that every time the energy density of batteries leaps forward, it has broad ramifications for social good, but not a lot of people invest in fundamental battery research.

“That kind of stuff I think is interesting to me, things that people are overlooking,” Krug said.

Krug is currently the co-chief investment officer at Pantera Capital.

Since finishing her efforts to help the Tezos Foundation launch the blockchain, Breitman has been at work on a gaming company that will use Tezos infrastructure.

Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong has also signed the Giving Pledge, a similar commitment but for billionaires such as Warren Buffett, MacKenzie Bezos and Pierre Omidyar.

Image courtesy of Kathleen Breitman