Steve Cohen has become the latest billionaire to make a sizable bet on the future of the nascent cryptocurrency industry.
Fortune reports that the Wall Street icon, nicknamed the “hedge fund king” and the inspiration for popular Showtime series “Billions,” has invested in Autonomous Partners, a cryptocurrency hedge fund that holds both cryptocurrencies and blockchain startup equity.
Cohen runs Point72 Asset Management, which oversees approximately $12 billion according to the firm’s website. However, the investment in Autonomous Partners was instead made through Cohen Private Ventures, the publication reported, which invests on behalf of the billionaire portfolio manager and focuses its efforts on long-term positions rather than short-term plays.
Speaking with Fortune, Autonomous Partners founder Arianna Simpson said that the firm has funding in the low eight digits.
“I’ve only brought on partners that I think can be very much value-add beyond their capital,” she said, adding that this exclusive group includes prolific cryptocurrency investment firm Union Square Ventures, as well as Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.
Simpson explained that the firm has a broad investment strategy, owing to the fact that the industry is “still figuring out” what applications will truly benefit from blockchain and which will not.
However, there’s one large-cap asset that Autonomous Partners isn’t touching: XRP, a cryptocurrency that is so closely associated with San Francisco-based blockchain startup Ripple that it is colloquially referred to simply as “ripple.”
“I have a lot of concerns about the level of centralization there,” Simpson said of XRP, “and I have regulatory concerns if what they have issued is a security.”
Ripple, as CCN.com has reported, has strongly resisted claims that XRP is a security and that it is controlled by the company.
Cohen’s investment in Autonomous Partners is the latest example of the growing trend of wealthy investors and investment firms taking up positions in the nascent cryptocurrency ecosystem, even as the present bear market has caused retail interest to taper.
Last month, Andreessen Horowitz — another firm with a long history of investing in blockchain startups — launched a $300 million fund dedicated exclusively to the cryptocurrency space and said that the “all-weather fund” would “keep investing aggressively” no matter how dark any particular bear market appears.
“Some people are billionaires because they hodled crypto and some people hodl crypto because they’re already billionaires,” said eToro senior market analyst Mati Greenspan in a statement provided to CCN.com. “The interest in this new asset class is through the roof, but only just recently is it starting to catch the imagination of the already wealthy.”