A group of former executives of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has established a $100 million venture capital fund, the team told TechCrunch on Thursday.
Old Fashion Research (OFR) — whose name derives from the classic cocktail — was founded in late 2021 by associate directors Ling Zhang, who was previously vice president of mergers and acquisitions and investments at Binance, and Wayne Fu, former head of business development at Binance. crypto exchange.
The fund is focused on the metaverse, driving greater cryptocurrency adoption to emerging markets such as Latin America and Africa, Zhang told TechCrunch.
“We want to work with builders for the long term,” Zhang said. “We are very focused on the southern hemisphere. … We target all emerging markets, but our goal and vision is to accelerate adoption there.
At Binance, Zhang was responsible for numerous strategic acquisitions and investments, including FTX, Multicoin Capital and CertiK.
Capital was raised by limited partners, traditional venture capital funds, family offices and angel investors inside and outside the crypto ecosystem, global gaming platform WEMIX l investment, Zhang noted.
The project has been operating in stealth mode until today, but has invested in more than 50 blockchain projects so far, including the Nansen blockchain analytics platform, WOO Network trading platform, NFT game to win Genopets and Africa’s largest gaming community, Metaverse Magna. .
“We believe in the metaverse, not just in user activity, but also in the asset perspective,” Zhang said. “We believe that web3 will be the very first step to revolutionize it [our] own identity and asset management.
Wei Zhou, the former CFO of Binance, will serve as OFR’s strategic advisor and investor, and the venture capital arm will be supported by his partner Jiang Xin, who led Binance Labs’ major investment deals and Launchpad, such as Axie Infinity, Moonbeam, Alpha Finance and others.
“Market conditions have cooled down a bit since the beginning of the year and we believe this is more of an opportunity than a challenge for OFR,” said Xin. “Ever since [the fund] newly launched, we can find cheaper and more reasonable valuations during the market downturn and many bubbles will pop out.
Zhang said he noticed a growing interest in funds entering the crypto space or the launch of new funds to invest in crypto after seeing the potential in blockchain technology and the crypto ecosystem.
“More and more VCs are looking for ways to invest in crypto projects,” said Zhang. “Crypto itself is a revolution and a disruption of the main plate. It is no longer centralized in a top-down approach.
Earlier this week, Andreessen Horowitz announced its fourth crypto-focused fund for $4.5 billion. The fund, more than double the $2.2 billion third fund, will devote one-third of its mega-fund exclusively to seed deals.
In recent weeks, a number of mega-funds have been launched in the crypto space, showing that while the markets may fall, venture capitalists are taking advantage of the sentiment and continue to invest in the crypto space.
When asked whether bearish market sentiment is holding back traditional companies from continuing to invest in crypto, a16z general partner Arianna Simpson told TechCrunch that “it’s likely other companies will pull out,” but that “the size of our new fund speaks to the level of excitement and conviction we have in this category.
Reiterating that, Zhang noted that market declines give investors seeking capital in the space clarity on which bets to make.
“It is the best time for us to identify long-term believers in the crypto space and it is the best time to make investments and incubate more projects,” Zhang said.