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投资理财

硅谷风投巨头投资比特币业务

Stephen Gandel 2013年12月13日

最近大热的比特币刚刚又获得了一位有影响力的支持者。硅谷风投巨头安德森•霍洛维茨最近宣布将向从事比特币支付业务的电子货币“钱包”供应商Coinbase注资2000万美元,使它领投的这轮投资总额达到了2500万美元。

    安德森•霍洛维茨基金公司已经进入了一路高歌猛进的比特币市场。

    由Netscape联合创始人马克•安德森与他人共同执掌的知名硅谷风投公司向电子货币“钱包”供应商Coinbase注资2000万美元。用户可以利用这样的钱包来购买、出售比特币,或者用比特币消费。

    安德森•霍洛维茨是Coinbase“B轮”融资的牵头公司。包括合广投资(Union Square Ventures)和Ribbit资本(Ribbit Capital)在内的其他投资公司将注资500万美元,从而为Coinbase的新一轮融资提供2500万美元资金。

    合广投资还参与了Coinbase的前一轮融资,规模为500万美元。作为本次注资行动的一部分,安德森•霍洛维茨的克里斯•迪克森和合广投资的弗雷德•威尔森将出任Coinbase公司的董事。

    Coinbase是安德森•霍洛维茨注入巨资的第一家涉及比特币业务的公司。迪克森表示,选择在此时投资的部分原因是,最近参议院听证会表明,美联储主席伯南克和其他监管机构似乎对这种虚拟货币持支持态度。但是迪克森还说,他关注比特币已经有较长一段时间了。

    10月份安德森曾表示,他的公司正在酝酿对外投资。在《财富》杂志今年夏天举办的头脑风暴科技大会上,安德森•霍洛维茨公司另一位联合创始人本•霍洛维茨表示,他认为比特币未来有望成为主流。

    迪克森说:“现有的在线支付方式有问题。它的费用很高,而且诈骗时有发生。这种情况表明银行、信用卡、贝宝(Paypal)和其他方式所使用的技术都已经过时。”

    Coinbase拥有60万用户,他们可以将银行账户绑定虚拟钱包,进而购买比特币。其他服务商则要求用户向国外汇款,然后才能购买到这种电子货币。Coinbase已经和1.6万家商户签约,后者将通过Coinbase公司的支付系统接受比特币。

    迪克森说,Coinbase已与监管机构和银行开展合作,以确保系统的安全性。他还表示,这家公司是比特币市场正在走向成熟的例证。迪克森说:“很多游说人士都已经关注比特币较长一段时间了,而目前的情况是,参与其中的是那些更具专业水准的硅谷派企业。我预计、而且也希望看到更多的企业进入这个领域。”

    把宝押在比特币获得成功上的人似乎越来越多。比特币的价值最近一路飙升。但迪克森说,让他的公司感兴趣的是比特币带来的技术进步,而不是把它当成一种货币游戏。迪克森表示,安德森•霍洛维茨并没有真的花钱来购买比特币。

    “我认为人们不应把积蓄换成比特币。”(财富中文网)

    译者:翔  

    Andreessen Horowitz is buying into the growing market for bitcoins.

    The prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm co-led by Marc Andreessen, the Netscape co-founder, is investing about $20 million into Coinbase, which provides "wallets" for the digital currency. The wallets allow users to buy and sell bitcoins as well as spend them.

    The firm is the lead investor in a "Series B" round funding for Coinbase. Other investors, including Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital, are kicking in an additional $5 million. Coinbase is getting a total of $25 million in new funding.

    Union Square was part of an earlier round of financing that raised $5 million for Coinbase. As part of the current deal, Andreessen Horowitz's Chris Dixon and Union Square's Fred Wilson will be joining Coinbase's board of directors.

    Coinbase marks Andreessen Horowitz's first major investment into a bitcoin-related company. Dixon said the timing of the investment was in part motivated by a recent Senate hearing that produced statements from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and other regulators that seemed to back the virtual currency. But Dixon said he has been watching the bitcoin market for a while.

    Back in October, Andreessen said that the firm was scoping out investments. At Fortune's Brainstorm Tech this summer, the VC firm's other co-founder Ben Horowitz said he thought bitcoins would go mainstream.

    "The existing way to pay for things online is broken," says Dixon. "It has high fees, and the fact that fraud is such a problem shows that the technology that banks, credit cards, PayPal, and others use is based on antiquated technology."

    Coinbase has 600,000 users, who can link their bank account to a virtual wallet to buy bitcoins. Other services require users to wire cash to foreign countries in order to buy the digital currency. The company has also signed up 16,000 merchants that will accept bitcoins through Coinbase's payment system.

    Dixon says Coinbase has worked with regulators and banks to ensure that its system is safe. Dixon says the company is an example of how the bitcoin marketplace is maturing. "Lots of hobbyists have been interested in bitcoin for a while, but what you are seeing now is a more professional class of Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurs getting involved," says Dixon. "I expect and hope to see more companies started."

    More and more people appear to be betting on the success of bitcoins. The value of the currency has recently soared. But Dixon says his firm is excited about bitcoin as a technological advance, not as a currency play. Dixon says Andreessen Horowitz hasn't put money into actual bitcoins.

    "We don't think people should be putting their savings in bitcoins." 

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