Andreessen Horowitz Leads Bitcoin Startup TradeBlock’s $2.8 Million Funding

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Online cryptocurrency data and research provider TradeBlock has raised $2.8m in funding as part of a new investment round led by Andreessen Horowitz that also included SecondMarket CEO Barry Silbert, Devonshire Investors and FinTech Collective.

For Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm led by early internet pioneer Marc Andreessen, the move represents its latest major backing in the bitcoin ecosystem. The investment follows the firm’s December investment in US-based bitcoin financial services provider Coinbase’s $25m Series B round.

TradeBlock, rebranded from Genesis Block, began last year as a site where its co-founders Greg and Jeff Schvey could share their analyses and opinions on cryptocurrency market data. When the company hit peak demand for more specific data analytics, Greg told CoinDesk, the business began quietly incorporating its data products and services for some clients.

With $2.8m in new funding, BlockTrade is now focused heavily on improving its order management system for over-the-counter trading.

Greg told CoinDesk:

“We look at block chain technology as a protocol through which any titled asset can be transferred.”

Andreessen Horowitz has to date invested less than $50m in bitcoin companies according to its own estimates, but aims to increase this figure with strategic investments.

Leading market analytics

Armed with this new capital, TradeBlock is looking to empower its customers with improved offerings. Greg specified that TradeBlock works exclusively with institutional clients, and aims to increase their efficiency in “analyzing, understanding and transacting within the new technology”.

With bitcoin, he explained, the underlying protocol itself is open source and by the way it works, has to be publicly available. This means that, for those with the tools to access it, bitcoin already provides a wealth of free data.

However, Greg maintained that no one in the ecosystem is providing analytics the way BlockTrade does, saying:

“The data is out there. The block chain itself you can just download. No matter how much work you wanna put into pulling out intel on your own, there’s a host of places you can go and get indexes and charts on the block chain but if you want to get analytics on it, I’m not immediately aware that anyone else is getting it quite like that.”

Venture capital in the ecosystem

The move comes amid a surge in investment in bitcoin companies and service providers, with second-quarter investments topping $70m.

TradeBlock is the first proprietary research company in the ecosystem to publicly receive venture capital investment. In February, about 30 bitcoin companies had – almost all of which fell under the exchange, financial services, mining hardware, payment processor and wallet categories.

Greg noted this upswing in investment interest, saying that TradeBlock has seen “significant interest from historic Wall Street firms and hedge funds” as opposed to existing players in the bitcoin space.

However, the round was also joined by bitcoin industry leader and venture capital Barry Silbert, who recently invested in Argentina-based fiat-to-bitcoin processing service BitPagos.

Thrilled to join Andreessen Horowitz and others in backing TradeBlock in their $2.8 mm round via @WSJ @paulvigna

— Barry Silbert (@barrysilbert) July 16, 2014

For the latest data and statistics, revisit CoinDesk’s latest State of Bitcoin Q2 2014 report.

Big data image via Shutterstock

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