2015 was a good year for Bitcoin; and some say this could very well be reflected in its overall value the past two months. The currency has reached yearly highs in both volume and price over the course of September-October. This enthusiasm may be because of the large quantities of capital being injected into the digital infrastructure. Excitement grows as Bitcoin and blockchain firms within the industry have received a record US$1 Billion in investments as the year comes to an end.
The virtual currency experienced a record year of investments as money poured into crypto-related startups, seed accelerators and incubators. At the end of 2014, Uphold (formerly Bitreserve) received a record US$9.5 Million from a Series-B investment round. It was the second largest venture capital investment in the industry for the year. At the beginning of the New Year, the price of bitcoin reached new lows but the groundwork for blockchain infrastructure continued. The first quarter of 2015 revealed blockchain-related venture capital investments had surpassed the entire 12 months of funding from the previous year.
The wallet and exchange service Coinbase was the first to collect one of the largest funding rounds of 2015. The venture backing of US$75 Million came from the Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) Growth Fund led by the prominent blockchain investor Tim Draper. Among the DFJ investment capital injection also came from groups like, the New York Stock Exchange, USAA, BBVA (Spain), Andreessen Horowitz, and others. This news marked one of the first investments from traditional finance institutions and legacy banks. It was the year Bitcoin Jesus told us ‘2015 is the Year Bitcoin Will Integrate with the Traditional Finance System,’ which seems to have come to fruition.
The same month in January, the Winklevoss twins announced their Bitcoin exchange Gemini that was reported to come with a completely legal and regulated service. This news was followed by Overstock.com’s Patrick Byrne disclosure of his new concept Medici a “next generation” stock-exchange that implements blockchain technology. Byrne’s platform in its beta stage later rebranded as TØ and enabled a real-time short sale over the blockchain showing the team was serious. Then the Winklevoss twin’s Gemini exchange passed through the regulatory process and opened its doors to traders.
Over the course of the year, new businesses and services continued to be built and were generously funded throughout the industry. Blockchain investments kept flowing into startups from groups like Blythe Masters Digital Asset Holdings LLC and Boost VC. Adam and Tim Draper’s Boost VC has funded the start of roughly 120 new Bitcoin and distributed ledger companies. This July, Tally Capitals CEO Matthew Roszak helped start a Chicago Bitcoin-focused incubator that the company launched in the cities infamous 1871 building. Another seed accelerator Blockchain Capital a digital-tech focused venture capital fund helped deploy 17 portfolio startups as well this year.
More capital funding came to companies like Circle Financial and BitFury showing many were scrambling to be leaders in the new crypto-architecture being built. Circle has been growing its enterprise quite a bit in 2015 thanks to the US$50 million in funding from Goldman Sachs. While BitFury is building a technology park in Georgia with its capital investments and also partnering with 3M to build the world's largest two-phase immersion cooling system.
The year has shown a larger increase and constant investments all year long in contrast to 2014. Overall positive media and increased trust from traditional institutions as 9 of the largest banks in the world are interested in the technology. This along with strong bitcoin buying volume across the continent of China has seemed have to pumped up the cryptocurrency’s value, and created much enthusiasm throughout the community. 2016 is sure to have its surprises as bitcoin has always been an investment that is filled with unexpected events and celebration. With 1 Billion in capital funnelled into the environment so far, we're just getting started!