Peter Thiel. Photo: Dan Taylor/
Peter Thiel. Photo: Dan Taylor/

The venture capital firm run by billionaire entrepreneur and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is behind a startup that aims to bring Wall Street electronic know-how to help big-sum investors trade in bitcoin.

Theil’s Founders Fund has invested in the Tagomi System, which plans to be the bitcoin version of an online brokerage and will buy or sell crypto-currencies on behalf of wealthy individuals or private family offices. The Wall Street Journal reports that its co-founders include Greg Tusar, who was the former head of electronic trading at Goldman Sachs.

The platform will tackle a crypto trading market that is now fragmented across hundreds of exchanges that sit in locations across the world. A trader needs to have an account with each individual exchange and these often impose daily trade caps which makes bulk trading both complicated and time-consuming. In crypto’s highly volatile markets, time does mean money.

Tagomi plans to follow the US equity market model where broker-dealers use a centralized digital “smart order” system that makes fast decisions on where to trade at any given time.

Tagomi has so far raised $15.5 million to date, although the Wall Street Journal says that the Founders Fund – that has more than $3 billion worth of investments in more than 100 companies that include Facebook and Airbnb – has not divulged how much it has put into the start up.

The Wall Street Journal also reported in January that the Founders Fund had amassed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoin. The investment was, said the fund, “a high-risk, high-reward wager.”

In March, Thiel – who was born in Frankfurt and holds German citizenship but has lived in the US since childhood – told the Economic Club of New York that crypto-currency investment is a “hedge against the whole world falling apart … My view is that there’s going to be one cryptocurrency that will be the equivalent of gold.”

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