Asset management firm Morgan Creek Digital announced today (Feb 12th) that it had secured $40 million for a new venture capital fund focused on blockchain and crypto investment.

In an apparent first for the sector, the fund also revealed that it is anchored by two public pensions: the Fairfax County, Virgina Police Officer’s Retirement System, and the Employees’ Retirement System for government employees.

Other investors in the new fund include a hospital system, a university endowment, an insurance comapany and a private foundation.

Katherine Molnar, chief investment officer of the Fairfax County Police Officer’s Retirement System explained their motivation:

Blockchain technology is being applied in unique and compelling ways across multiple industries. We feel it is important to be opportunistic and are excited to participate in this emerging opportunity, due to the attractive asymmetric return profile that it represents.

Given that the two pension fund manage $1.45b and $4.25 respectively, their investment in the is far from a a major gamble on the nascent blockchain industry, although co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital, Anthony Pompliano told Coindesk that he believes its the first public pension to invest in the space.

Pompliano also told Bloomberg:

“There’s a belief in the institutional world that if the industry will be around for a long time, it will be very valuable.The smart money is not distracted by price but looks at the long-term trends, and believes they’re betting on innovation as a great way to deliver risk-mitigated returns.

Pompliano also took to Twitter to enthuse about the announcement, explaining what he thinks it means for the space in general: