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Li Ka Shing has been said to have entered the Bitcoin scene, investing in BitPay via Horizon Ventures, which is know for its “Facebook, Waze, Skype and Summly” bets. BitPay is similar to Paypal and Coinbase, and has similarly been recipient to substantial and numerous funding.

Some say that its due to technology giants wanting to shove a pickaxe into the banking sector famous for vampire squids.

Elon Musk has said previously that he had hoped for paypal to do something more, to have challenged the banks. Plenty of the people pushing out the bitcoin offensive, for bitpay, would have paypal somewhere on their cvs.

While the usual media (and techcrunch) likes to emphasise Li Ka Shing as Asia’s richest person, generally the richest people are not the ones on the list much like the entrenched banking families being notably absent from the lists of the west. What Li Ka Shing is known for is his impressive business acumen, and incredible timing savvy. That is to say, you would not want to buy something which Li Ka Shing is selling, generally, in the past. Buying something that he is buying on the other hand…

The SCMP post

The economist is wrong in that bitpay isn’t a peripheral activity, but pretty much one of the main activities for bitcoin trade. If he wants to analogize to the gold trade, its pretty much facilitating gold flow into china via hong kong, or gold bar loaded flights to dubai. Or providing raw gold for jewelry in India.

The shovel trade is in cards and miners, as bloomberg has picked out.

“Just like investors in days gone by made more money out of selling shovels and picks to gold-diggers than anyone ever made out of the gold mine, he is investing in the peripheral activity that bitcoin has generated,” Greenwood said.

Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing has invested in BitPay, the digital currency equivalent of PayPal, through his venture capital company, Horizons Ventures.

A spokeswoman for Horizons Ventures said the group would not comment on the details of the investment.

BitPay said it was “fortunate to have the benefit of many supportive investors, including Horizons Ventures”.

South China Morning Post (SCMP) (HK)

http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1390224/bitcoin-service-firms-best-investment-not-virtual-currency?page=all

Li Ka-shing’s bitcoin play is worth emulating, says top economist

Economist recommends buying in to firms providing services to virtual money, as Asia’s richest man has

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 December, 2013, 4:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 December, 2013, 12:24pm

Danny Lee danny.lee@scmp.com

  • bitcoin_li_net.jpg
Investors should steer clear of speculating in bitcoin, said top economist John Greenwood. Photo: Reuters

Investors looking for a way to make money from the global bitcoin bonanza should steer clear of the pseudo currency itself and instead follow Li Ka-shing’s lead: buy in to the firms providing the services that bitcoin holders use.

That’s according to John Greenwood, the London-based chief economist of Invesco who designed Hong Kong’s pegged currency regime.

“Just like investors in days gone by made more money out of selling shovels and picks to gold-diggers than anyone ever made out of the gold mine, he is investing in the peripheral activity that bitcoin has generated,” Greenwood said.

Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing has invested in BitPay, the digital currency equivalent of PayPal, through his venture capital company, Horizons Ventures.

A spokeswoman for Horizons Ventures said the group would not comment on the details of the investment.

BitPay said it was “fortunate to have the benefit of many supportive investors, including Horizons Ventures”.

BitPay, founded in May 2011, handles transactions for 14,000 companies across 200 countries. About half are in the United States, with 25 per cent in Europe and 25 per cent in the rest of the world.

 

Bitcoin emerged in 2009 as a low-cost way of sending money electronically. It eliminates the need to funnel money through third parties, such as banks or card payment processors. And it is not regulated by a central bank. Currently, there are more than 11 million bitcoins in circulation.

They can be bought and sold on online exchanges or “mined” using high-performance computers.

Greenwood said bitcoin was simply not credible as a global currency as it failed to fulfil three fundamental requirements: be an effective medium of exchange for a wide range of goods and services; be a long-term store of value or be used for the settlement of long-term contracts; or be a universal unit of account.

The virtual currency became popular, especially on the mainland, because it enabled individuals to get around Beijing’s controls on the movement of capital across its national borders – currently limited to a maximum of US$50,000 equivalent without permission from regulators.

“This, I believe, is the fundamental reason why bitcoins rose in price so steeply, and why the Chinese authorities have now acted to outlaw conversions from renminbi to bitcoins and vice-versa,” Greenwood said.

Watch: What’s Bitcoin and how does it work?

The mainland’s central bank has ordered third-party payment platforms to stop providing clearing services to bitcoin, litecoin and other crypto-currencies before the end of January. Earlier this month, it told financial institutions not to provide services for virtual currencies.

The bitcoin price topped US$1,242 (HK$9,630) per coin on the Japan-based Mt Gox exchange at the height of the boom, at the end of November. It fell to HK$4,187 as Beijing intervened.

It has been a roller-coaster ride for investors such as musician Zou Lunlun. Zou’s investment in 100 bitcoins peaked in value at HK$962,051 before falling to HK$418,719. Local investor Casper Cheng Tsz-chun, 16, has held on to his 50 bitcoins despite watching them halve in value, to HK$209,357.

Bitcoin has received a lukewarm response from the Hong Kong government despite interest from the city’s community of entrepreneurs. A month ago, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah predicted a huge correction, saying bitcoin’s run could not last as there was “no support from the real economy”.

Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Professor Chan Ka-keung said bitcoin’s value had been like a roller-coaster ride, making it unsuitable for settling payments. “It is not qualified to become an electronic currency. Citizens should be wary of it,” Chan said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as ‘Li Ka-shing bitcoin play worth emulating’
Techcrunch

Asia’s Richest Man Invests In BitPay

After some serious drubbing in two of the world’s largest countries during past few weeks, the Bitcoin ecosystem may have found its biggest individual backer yet in Li Ka-shing, Asia’s richest man.

Li is now an investor in Atlanta-based BitPay, the startup with ambitions to become the PayPal for the virtual currency world. He has made this investment through his venture capital company, Horizons Ventures, an early investor in companies such as Facebook, Waze, Skype and Summly.

A BitPay spokeswoman told me that Horizons Ventures and the Founders Fund are among a group of investors including Shakil Khan, Barry Silbert, Jimmy Furland, Roger Ver and Ben Davenport, who have put around $2.7 million in the startup so far. Founders Fund is the VC group run by people who founded and were early employees at PayPal. In May this year, BitPay raised $2 million from the Founders Fund.

The South China Morning Post reported earlier today that Li has invested in BitPay through Horizons Ventures, but didn’t give any specific details on the amount invested.

Li’s investment in BitPay comes at a time, when regulators in India and the People’s Bank of China, have issued advisories against the virtual currency, and even questioned the legitimacy of Bitcoin.

Overall, the environment for Bitcoin seems more conducive the in U.S. where Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently said that despite risks, there are areas where virtual currencies hold long-term promise.

Indeed, BitPay said earlier this month that it has processed over $100 million in transactions this year, and has increased its merchant base to over 15,500.

It’s been a very busy month for Bitcoin, mostly filled with bad news in two of the world’s biggest countries. While China’s biggest Bitcoin exchange, BTCChina, stopped accepting deposits in Chinese Yuan earlier this month, exchanges dealing with the virtual currency in India are shutting down after a warning from the country’s banking regulator, RBI.

The 85-years old Hong Kong-based billionaire, who is also the chairman of Hutchison Whampoa, is buying into Bitcoin growth in the U.S. amid uncertainties in Asia.

John Greenwood, the chief economist of London-based Invesco, told the South China Morning Post that Li’s strategy of investing in a startup that provides enabling infrastructure for the virtual currency, offers lessons for investors looking to make money from Bitcoin.

This is what Greenwood told the newspaper:

“Just like investors in days gone by made more money out of selling shovels and picks to gold-diggers than anyone ever made out of the gold mine, he is investing in the peripheral activity that bitcoin has generated.”

Clearly, Li seems to have made a smart move by avoiding any direct investments in Bitcoin.

Techinasia

http://www.techinasia.com/asia-richest-man-li-ka-shing-invests-bitpay-bitcoin-payments/

Asia’s richest man just invested in a startup that’s like PayPal for Bitcoin

Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, is worth about $29 billion. Though he’s not investing in Bitcoin, the volatile virtual currency, he has decided to invest in BitPay, a US startup that’s a sort of PayPal for bitcoins.

Li Ka-shing’s investment in BitPay has been confirmed by the South China Morning Post. The funding comes via Li’s Horizons Ventures. The exact funding amount has not been revealed.

Economist John Greenwood explained to the SCMP why the multi-billionaire might have made such as investment:

Just like investors in days gone by made more money out of selling shovels and picks to gold-diggers than anyone ever made out of the gold mine, he is investing in the peripheral activity that bitcoin has generated.

This could be a valuable lesson for those watching bitcoins: invest in virtual currency infrastructure and services, but don’t risk buying into the currency itself.

On shaky ground

Hong Kong’s government has not ruled definitely on bitcoin usage by its citizens, but politicians have voiced caution on the part of solo investors. Hong Kong’s financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah predicted a huge correction in its price-levels, saying bitcoin could not endure as there’s “no support from the real economy” for it.

Bitcoin’s price has fluctuated wildly since it come into the spotlight in October. Its price relative to the US dollar briefly rocketed to $1,200 in December before China’s central bank put a dampener on the party by ruling that mainland Chinese may not use Bitcoin for transactions. That does not effect Hong Kongers. Bitcoin’s current price is just under $800.

BitPay has received seed rounds of funding in the past, such as $2 million in May this year. It was founded in 2011 and is also backed by Founders Fund, the VC started by the gang commonly called the PayPal Mafia.

(Editing by Josh Horwitz)

Startups Hong Kong

http://www.startupshk.com/takeaway-from-li-ka-shings-bitpay-backing-is-to-invest-peripherally/

Li Ka-Shing, Asia’s wealthiest man, knows what the future looks like: virtual currency.

Having backed a number of tech startups early in the game via Horizons Ventures – like a small site called Facebook, Summly, Waze and that Facebook comic strip app Bitstrips, it’s obvious that Li has uncanny foresight when it comes to doling out investment dollars.

One golden example is when Li invested in Facebook back in 2007, when the social network was just three years old. Another is when he invested in money-losing Skype in 2005, years before Microsoft acquired it for $8.5 billion. Or Siri in 2009, a year before Apple bought the voice-controlled personal assistant. The list goes on.

Li’s latest investment is in BitPay – a virtual currency service that acts as an intermediary for merchants selling a product, and buyers using Bitcoin. In simpler words, it’s likened to a “PayPal for Bitcoins.”

According to Tech in Asia, anyone wanting to get into the Bitcoin business should take Li’s lead and consider investing peripherally to minimize risk. Invest in the infrastructure and services that have spawned in light of Bitcoin’s popularity, but not in the volatile currency itself.

While Bitcoin’s price continues to swing wildly, BitPay has seen steady success. The payment service provider has since September 2013, cultivated a 10,000-strong merchant network spanning 164 countries – with more than $34 million worth of Bitcoins passed through its platform to date.

The takeaway from all this? If Li Ka-Shing has done it, others are likely to follow suite and we’re interested in seeing how this Bitcoin-peripheral-investment saga unfurls.

Our own Casey Lau was recently in Vancouver, Canada and snapped these images of the world’s first Bitcoin ATM machine – what innovations will come out of Hong Kong? We’re already tracking one called Seedcoin here in Hong Kong which is a Bitcoin startup incubator.

(Photo: Reuters)

Mike Krieger

http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2013/12/26/asias-richest-man-li-ka-shing-invests-in-bitpay/

If this is true, it is a stunning piece of news for the Bitcoin economy. According to the South China Morning Post, Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing has made an investment of an undisclosed amount in BTC payment processor Bitpay, a company I have highlighted on these pages on several occasions.

From the South China Morning Post:

Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing has invested in BitPay, the digital currency equivalent of PayPal, through his venture capital company, Horizons Ventures.

A spokeswoman for Horizons Ventures said the group would not comment on the details of the investment.

BitPay said it was “fortunate to have the benefit of many supportive investors, including Horizons Ventures”.

BitPay, founded in May 2011, handles transactions for 14,000 companies across 200 countries. About half are in the United States, with 25 per cent in Europe and 25 per cent in the rest of the world.

Simply incredible.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?cid=1102&id=20131229000067

The 85-year-old Hong Kong business magnate, the world’s eighth richest man based on Forbes’ latest rich list with net assets of US$31 billion, invested in BitPay through his venture capital company Horizon Ventures, which has previously made early investments Facebook and Skype. A spokesperson for Horizons Ventures said the group would not comment on the details of the investment.

 

vrzone

http://vr-zone.com/articles/invest-bitcoin-services-bitcoin-says-economist/67976.html

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