They may be the first Bitcoin billionaires, but the Winklevoss brothers show no signs of settling into a comfortable early retirement. Blockstack’s ICO has closed, raising $50 million, and among the investors was Winklevoss Capital, the twins’ venture capital fund.
Though ICOs have become increasingly popular as a way to raise funds without having to give up control, Blockstack’s co-founder Muneeb Ali stressed that this ICO was more like a traditional raising of venture capital rather than a crowdfund free-for-all.
“I think it’s more like a funding round, with high-quality sophisticated investors, rather than random people just throwing money at something,” said Ali.
No Pre-sale as “wide audience” Targeted
Unusually for this ICO there was no initial pre-sale. Co-founders Ryan Shea and Ali wanted to ensure that the tokens were distributed widely, Ali explaining that
“it’s really important that we have a wide distribution of the tokens because we really believe that, if those users are to become stakeholders of the ecosystem, we want a very diverse representation of what the ecosystem is.”
Tokens were distributed to over 800 investors in total. The Winklevoss twins were joined by some other big names in the tech field, including Digg founder Kevin Rose and Y Combinator partner Qasar Younis.
Blockstack aims to build a “parallel internet” where users own and store their own data. Rather than have your photos sitting on the servers of an application like Facebook, they would be stored on your laptop, backed up to the cloud if you choose, and you would own them.
Rather than having your identity spread over the internet “you would bring your identity with you,” said Shea.