One of the early pioneers of bitcoin and blockchain is raising money to fund a financial startup based on the virtual currency.
Nick Szabo, a cryptographer who worked on an early bitcoin prototype called DigiCash, is in talks to raise $3 million, according to sources and a pitch deck reviewed by Quartz.
According to a person familiar with the effort, $1 million of the seed round has already been committed by Fenbushi Capital, a China-based venture capital firm focused on blockchain investments. Over the past few months, the fundraising effort has been aimed at venture capital firms focused on bitcoin and blockchain.
Szabo is perhaps best known as the father of “smart contracts,” blockchain-based agreements that execute automatically. The technology has recently attracted the attention of large financial institutions like JPMorgan, UBS, and Barclays, as a way to automate traditional back office processes and cut costs.
Szabo has even periodically been thought to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious individual who is credited with creating bitcoin. In May 2015, the New York Times’ Nathaniel Popper wrote that evidence pointed to Szabo being Nakamoto. Szabo denied this to Popper. In recent weeks, Australian software engineer and entrepreneur Craig Wright stepped forward,