Life.SREDA, a venture capital fund based in Singapore, has partnered with financial expert and fintech specialist Chris Skinner, to give mid-size financial institutions access to the rapidly-growing blockchain ecosystem.
The new venture fund called Banking on Blockchain Fund, has launched with an initial capital infusion of $5 million from Life.SREDA, but the near-term goal of the venture is to expand its capital base to $50 million by the end of 2016.
According to a Financial News report, the fund has big goals and aims to top $100 million in backing from midsize financial institutions by the end of 2017.
The blockchain space has been dominated by big banks and VC firms for the past several years, but Skinner – who has been appointed chief executive of the new fund – sees a big opportunity in giving the smaller banks an avenue through which they can gain exposure to rapidly-growing blockchain space.
While the hype surrounding blockchains in the banking world has reached a fever pitch, many investors have stayed away due to the regulatory complexities and the sheer amount of unknowns regarding the long-term viability of the technology.
Skinner, who has advised large financial institutions like Lloyds on emerging technologies, clarified that the Banking on Blockchain Fund will ease investor fears by doing thorough due diligence on all fintech firms the fund invests in, “We will also provide the banks with research outputs and consulting based on the knowledge gathered from the firms we invest in.” he said.
Thomas Labenbacher, who previously held an executive position at Fidor Bank – which currently works with the San Francisco-based Kraken digital currency exchange – has been appointed Managing Director of the new blockchain-focused fund.
The Life.SREDA fund also has many investments in various payment networks such as social network payment platform Fastacash, and Ayannah, a payment service for the unbanked in emerging markets.
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