Earlier today, venture capitalist and angel investor Tim Draper announced that he was the sole winner of the nearly 30,000 BTC auction of bitcoins seized from the Silk Road. Draper’s firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, is extremely well known in investment circles, backing high-profile projects like Skype, Hotmail and Tesla Motors long before they were known to the general public. Draper is also the father of Adam Draper, CEO of bitcoin-backing investment firm Boost VC.
Draper said in a statement that he will use the 29,656 BTC to provide liquidity in emerging bitcoin markets. Given that bitcoin’s first major commercial application is likely to be in the remittance market, the move makes a great deal of sense. Draper will partner with Boost VC-backed exchange Vaurum for the project.
In a statement, Draper explained his investment:
Bitcoin frees people from trying to operate in a modern market economy with weak currencies. With the help of Vaurum and this newly purchased bitcoin, we expect to be able to create new services that can provide liquidity and confidence to markets that have been hamstrung by weak currencies. … Of course, no one is totally secure in holding their own country’s currency. We want to enable people to hold and trade bitcoin to secure themselves against weakening currencies.”
Draper’s bid for the 10 lots of 3,000 BTC at the U.S. Marshal Service’s auction is still unknown, but is widely guessed to have been significantly over Friday’s $580 spot price.
Bitcoin prices dipped somewhat yesterday, largely in due to uncertainty about the winner of such a large block of BTC. Some traders feared that the coins would appear on the open market, perhaps as a “price wall” protecting a certain price point, a common move in the increasingly aggressive world of cryptocurrency trading world. Those fears appear to have evaporated since Draper’s announcement, with prices on some exchanges already well above yesterday’s $650 range.