Peter Thiel's Founders Fund made a bet on bitcoin that's now worth hundreds of millions of dollars

  • Founders Fund, the venture-capital firm founded by the tech billionaire Peter Thiel, has made hundreds of millions of dollars from bitcoin investments, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The firm put $US15 million to $US20 million into the cryptocurrency and made a lot of money as bitcoin’s value skyrocketed by nearly 1,400% in 2017, the report says.
  • Bitcoin markets responded favourably to the report, sending bitcoin up 12% on Tuesday.

Even Peter Thiel has caught the bitcoin bug.

Founders Fund, the venture-capital firm Thiel founded in 2005, invested $US15 million to $US20 million in the popular cryptocurrency, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The firm has told investors the bet on bitcoin is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to bitcoin’s dramatic rise in the fourth quarter of last year, The Journal reported.

The cryptocurrency ended the year at about $US14,000 – up from nearly $US1,000 at the start of 2017.

It’s unclear exactly when Founders Fund bought its bitcoin. It declined to comment on the report.

Founders Fund’s bitcoin investments are spread across several the firm’s funds, including one launched as recently as the middle of last year, The Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

It’s unclear whether any of the firm’s investments have been sold, according to the report.

Despite bitcoin’s growing hype and popularity, few mainstream institutions have invested in the cryptocurrency, citing its speculative value and the volatility of its pricing – its price can swing by double-digit percentage points in a matter of hours.

Markets responded favourably on Tuesday following The Journal’s initial report on the firm’s investment. Bitcoin was up 12%, at about $US15,100, on Tuesday, up from an opening price of $US13,510, according to Markets Insider.

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