Peter Thiel and Billionaire Jihan Wu's Bitmain Invest in Block.one

(Bloomberg) -- Blockchain platform Block.one is close to announcing a new fundraising round, bringing in Peter Thiel and Chinese billionaire Jihan Wu’s Bitmain Technologies Ltd. as new investors, according to people familiar with the matter.

The fresh investment round could be announced as early as this week, the people added, declining to be identified because the information is private. Other co-investors in the current round include Louis Bacon, founder of Moore Capital Management LP, and fellow hedge fund billionaire Alan Howard. The size couldn’t immediately be learned.

Wu is co-founder of Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the world’s largest producer of chips used for mining cryptocurrencies. Founders Fund, Thiel’s San Francisco-based firm known for early bets on SpaceX and Airbnb, has been actively purchasing Bitcoin.

Spokespeople for Block.one and Thiel declined to comment. Bitmain could not be reached for comment.

The investment from Thiel and Wu comes after Block.one finished the world’s biggest sale of cryptocurrency tokens for $4 billion in May. In the transaction, often described as initial coin offering, Block.one sold so-called EOS tokens, the fifth-most valuable cryptocurrency according to data from Coinmarketcap.com. The money raised from the tokens are set to build a new operating platform for blockchain, similar to Microsoft Inc.’s Windows OS.

The current fundraising, in contrast, broadens the investor base of Cayman Islands-based Block.one itself.

Block.one, co-founded in 2016 by Brendan Blumer and Daniel Larimer, counts investors including Michael Novogratz and fintech investor Christian Angermayer, who co-invests with Thiel in a range of technology firms including Deposit Solutions and Nextmarkets GmbH.

The company is also attracting former banking staff. Michael Alexander, who until recently was Asia chief executive officer at Jefferies Group LLC’s, recently joined Block.one to head up its venture capital arm. James Mendes, head of Asia Pacific recruitment at Citigroup Inc, is also joining the startup to manage human resources.

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