Yale University's Investment Office Has Invested in $300 Million Crypto Fund, Inside Sources Report

Omar Faridi
  • Yale University's endowment fund manager has directed investments toward Andreessen Horowitz's and venture capital firm Paradigm's cryptocurrency funds.
  • Paradigm was launched by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam and Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang.

David Swensen, the chief investment officer at Yale University, a private American Ivy League research-focused university, has reportedly invested in giant venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz’s $300 million cryptocurrency fund - which is “designed to include the best features of traditional venture capital, update to the modern crypto world.”

Crypto Veterans: Coinbase, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz

Swensen, who has been managing Yale’s $29.4 billion endowment fund since 1985, also made investments (according to inside sources) in Paradigm, a large crypto fund launched by Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang and Fred Ehrsam, the co-founder of digital asset exchange Coinbase

Notably, Yale University’s investment office may now be one of the very few large organizations to have made substantial investments in cryptocurrency-related projects. This is a positive development for the crypto industry, which has suffered this year due to the declining prices of digital assets.

According to Bloomberg, 96 percent of foundations and endowment fund managers surveyed by consulting agency NEPC said they had not invested in cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, Yale’s Investment Office reported that nearly 60 percent of its investments for financial year (FY) 2019 have been in alternative investments such as hedge funds and venture capital projects.

Swensen is well-known for his wise investment decisions and is often referred to as
“Yale’s in-house Warren Buffett”, the 88-year-old billionaire and chairman of conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway.

Yale Outperforms Harvard

When Swensen joined Yale’s investment office in 1985, the university’s endowment fund was only valued at around $1 billion. Now, it is the second-largest endowment in the US, behind only Harvard University’s $39.2 billion endowment.

Yale reported that its endowment fund has generated an annual (average) 7.4 percent return in the past 10 years. During the period from June of 2017 to June 2018, Yale’s endowment fund increased by 12.3 percent while Harvard recorded a 10 percent gain.

Universities and learning centers, in general, have been taking a more active interest in cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology. As covered by CryptoGlobe, New York University (NYU) is now offering graduate-level specializations in digital assets.

Also as CryptoGlobe reported, top US-based universities such as Stanford, University of California, Berkeley, and MIT, offer some of the most comprehensive and technically in-depth courses on cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Woolf University, an initiative started by several notable University of Oxford academics, is reportedly planning to manage most of its operations on a blockchain-based data management system.