Not high on bitcoin, but Mark Cuban to invest in cryptocurrency fund

'Shark Tank' star had said bitcoin was in a bubble

Mark Cuban wants in on the cryptocurrency boom even if it turns out he’s right that bitcoin is in a bubble.

Cuban is investing in 1confirmation, a fund that plans to raise $20 million to invest in blockchain-based companies, the tech billionaire said in an interview. Venture-capital firm Runa Capital is among other investors, and its technical advisers include Andreessen Horowitz board partner Balaji S. Srinivasan and programming language JavaScript founder Brendan Eich.

“I have always looked at blockchain as a foundation platform from which great applications can be built,” Cuban said in an Aug. 19 email response to questions. “Hopefully we can find a few.”

Runa Capital principal Nick Tomaino was an early employee at digital currency exchange Coinbase Inc. and runs the cryptocurrency-focused blog the Control. They plan to differentiate 1confirmation from the slew of digital currency hedge funds that have sprung up recently by taking a page from the venture-capital play book.

Rather than investing in digital tokens through initial coin offerings or in the secondary market, 1confirmation plans to invest from $100,000 to $500,000 in early stage companies before their ICO, and help those companies develop their product. Once the start-up is ready to issue an ICO — an initial coin offering — the fund hopes to negotiate a discounted price.

Cuban, who is a majority owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and star of start-up investing theme show “Shark Tank,” tweeted in June that bitcoin was in a bubble, causing the cryptocurrency to drop in price. Cuban says that’s beside the point given the developing underlying technology.

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