Business

Steve Kaaru

Harvard University backs crypto firm Blockstack

Harvard University is one of the investors in Blockstack’s token sale investment, a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revealed. The university, together with Lux Capital and Foundation Capital invested $11.5 million, purchasing 95.8 million Stacks tokens. Following the investment, Charlie Saravia, managing director of Harvard Management, will join an advisory committee for the sale of the tokens.

Blockstack is a decentralized computing startup designed by computer scientists from Princeton University. Its platform enables engineers to build secure and privacy-focused applications which seek to give full control to their users. Currently, over 80 applications run on its platform. They include Graphite, a decentralized version of Google Docs; BitPatron, a subscription content distribution service; and Sigle, a decentralized blogging platform.

Blockstack has applied for regulatory approval from the SEC, but the approval is still pending. “Upon approval, the offering is expected to be the first SEC-qualified token offering of its kind,” the company said in a blog post. The firm intends to issue its digital tokens under the SEC’s Regulation A+ framework. This framework offers smaller firms an alternative to an IPO, allowing them to target retail investors and raise up to $50 million.

While the filing will help Blockstack raise funding, it will go beyond just that, the company stated. It will forge a new path for blockchain companies.

“Upon qualification, we believe that this offering may be the first time a blockchain project receives approval to access the public U.S. securities markets. This can potentially set a precedent for others in the industry, not just for public offerings, but also as a path to launch new public blockchains and establish a path to bootstrapping decentralized ecosystems.”

Harvard University becomes the latest institutional investor to take the plunge into the world of digital currencies. Earlier this year, two pension funds from Fairfax County in Virginia invested in a $40 million crypto fund by Morgan Creek Digital. While initially Morgan Creek only sought $25 million, strong interest pushed the limit up to $40 million. The two funds represent $1.2 billion in assets for the pension of the police and other public workers.

Last year, Yale University’s endowment invested in Paradigm, a crypto fund that sought to raise $400 million. The $30 billion institution’s size of the investment was not clear. However, the endorsement by the best-performing college endowments of the last three decades went a long way in giving other institutional investors confidence.

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