The endowment fund of Duke University made an early investment in popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase which has “probably increased 100x,” according to a report by CoinDesk citing two sources familiar with the matter.
According to the report, the $3.9 billion Duke Endowment was included in Coinbase’s early fundraising rounds because one of the firm’s co-founders, Fred Ehrsam, approached the organization for an investment. A source was quoted saying:
The Duke University endowment has direct Coinbase exposure because Fred [Ehrsam] approached Duke for one of the early rounds. They probably 100x’d their money, after dilution. So even if they only put in $5 million, they just made $500 million, which is a lot for an endowment.
The source was reportedly part of the venture capital community at the time, and said Duke likely participated in the 2015 Series C funding round. At the time, the firm raised $75 million in a round backed by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Spanish Bank BBVA, and Japanese telco DoCoMo.
In 2017, Coinbase raised $100 million from Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Draper Associates, Greylock Partners, Section 32, Battery Ventures, and Spark Capital. The exchange is now eyeing a public debut via a direct listing on the Nasdaq exchange. It could be worth as much as $100 billion.
CoinDesk’s source noted that as the investors were successful with Coinbase they may be now moving some of their returns back into the cryptocurrency space. They were quoted saying:
By virtue of having been successful in crypto, these early investors are now believers.
As reported, some of the largest university endowment funds in the U.S. have reportedly been quietly buying bitcoin for the past year through accounts at Coinbase and other cryptocurrency exchanges.
Harvard, Yale, Brown, and the University of Michigan as well as several other colleges have been buying bitcoin directly from cryptocurrency exchanges after several Ivy League endowments took an interest in blockchain technology via a crypto-focused venture capital funds back in 2018