Silicon valley based Bitcoin startup 21 Inc. recently admitted to have raised a whopping $116 million in venture funding.
In the past one year and a half, 21 was secretly collecting small chunks of funds from investors like Andreessen Horowitz , Khosla Ventures, and several other firms. The company’s CEO and co-fonder Matthew Pauker also revealed eBay cofounder Jeff Skoll, PayPal cofounders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel and Expedia CEO Data Khosrowhahi as one of the 21 Inc.’s investors.
However, the name of one investor that surprised the entire community was Qualcomm Ventures — a renowned investment vertical of American global semiconductor company Qualcomm Incorporated. As known to most of the techies, the company designs and distributes wireless communications products and services. In his interview to the Wall Street Journal, Pauker further recognized the importance of Qualcomm’s involvement into their “secretive” project.
What is Bitcoin Startup Actually Cooking?
The aforesaid partnership therefore has started a series of speculations that 21 is planning to integrate the Bitcoin technology into the Qualcomm’s area of expertise. “That’s the idea,” read WSJ, “that a myriad of smart, Internet-connected appliances will in the future communicate with servers, networks and each other to optimize their operation, maintenance and energy usage without direct human involvement.”
There is also speculations that 21 is helping Qualcomm to develop built-in Bitcoin wallets for the smartphones. The latter currently manufactures and supplies the Snapdragon processors to a various of mobile companies like Sony, Samsung, and others.
At best, it is clear that 21 is not yet another investment fund, or exchange for the Wall Street fellas. The focus here is indeed on utilizing Bitcoin technology for the next generation, decentralized appliances. Earlier, IBM and Samsung also announced to experiment with ADEPT — a Bitcoin blockchain based project that will help electric appliances interact with each other without requiring human intervention.
From the look of it, 21 and Qualcomm are cooking something similar in their new $116m worth lab.