Bitcoin has its fair share of backers and detractors, but it's not every day one of the world's richest people, in this case, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, throws their weight behind the nascent technology.
Li, who's 90 years old and known as Superman, has invested in the upcoming bitcoin and cryptocurrency platform Bakkt through his venture capital firm Horizon Ventures, it was reported by local media.
Bakkt announced it had raised $182.5 million in its series A funding round last week, with Horizon Ventures fronting a portion of that.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors who have weathered the so-called crypto winter have been somewhat cheered by a positive start to 2019, with many eagerly looking forward to major global stock exchanges offering bitcoin futures contracts and the highly-anticipated Bakkt bitcoin platform.
The Bakkt bitcoin platform, which is being developed with New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange as well as partnerships with coffee shop chain Starbucks and PC giant Microsoft, plans to offer bitcoin futures trading from the first quarter of this year and open bitcoin and cryptocurrencies up to a wider retail market.
Later this year, Bakkt will allow people to buy, sell, store and spend cryptocurrencies through Microsoft’s cloud, while Starbucks will let them convert bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to U.S. dollars to make purchases.
This is not, however, Li's first foray into the world of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Li, who is worth about $34.9 billion, according to Forbes yearly billionaires list, invested in bitcoin payments processor Bitpay back in 2013 and blockchain technology provider Blockstream in 2016 through Horizon Ventures.
Li was joined last year by British billionaire and founder of Virgin group, Sir Richard Branson, who was one of a number of investors who put $30 million into Bitpay.
The bitcoin price has struggled in recent months, falling throughout 2018, as investors struggle with a hangover from bitcoin's epic bull run in 2017 which sent the price from under $1,000 at the beginning of the year to almost $20,000 in under 12 months.
Many bitcoin investors and traders are looking towards things like a U.S. bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to boost the price, though those expectations have been somewhat dampened lately as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission frets over potential price manipulation.
The Winklevoss twins, of Facebook founding fame who have now turned to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, founding their own exchange, took to social network Reddit to talk up the possibility of the U.S. regulator approving a bitcoin ETF later this year.
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