Peter Thiel, Alan Howard back BitDAO's $230 million raise

A new decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called BitDAO has been formed, and several high-profile investors, including Peter Thiel and Alan Howard, have backed its $230 million fundraise.

Thiel led the round, along with his Founders Fund, Pantera Capital, and Dragonfly Capital. Other investors in the round included Jump Capital, Spartan Group, Fenbushi, and Kain Warwick of Synthetix. The fundraise was realized via a private token sale round.

BitDAO's initial proponent is crypto derivatives exchange Bybit. The exchange has, therefore, pledged a contribution of 2.5 basis points of its futures contracts trading volume to the BitDAO treasury, which at January-May 2021 run rate is expected to be more than $1 billion per year, said BitDAO.

The DAO wants to promote the growth of the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector by providing grants and liquidity to DeFi projects and setting up research and development (R&D) centers.

"BitDAO is putting its full support behind DeFi and will allocate significant financial and talent resources to drive DeFi growth," the organization said in a statement shared with The Block on Wednesday. As for BitDAO-affiliated R&D centers, the DAO said those would aim to employ "hundreds" of people to help innovate and tackle technical challenges faced by the DeFi sector.

The DeFi industry is seeing an increasing interest from venture capitalists. As The Block Research reported recently, nearly 50% of crypto deals in the first quarter of this year were into DeFi projects.