15.01.2021

ConsenSys CSO Seeks to Raise $50M for New Blockchain Investment Fund

Cassatt, who has been at the firm for five years, will continue to serve as an advisor to ConsenSys while working full-time as a founding managing partner at Aligned Capital.

An executive at the Ethereum blockchain firm ConsenSys is launching a new blockchain-oriented investment firm, Aligned Capital. Sam Cassatt, the chief strategy officer (CSO) at ConsenSys, announced that the firm will be seeking to raise $50 million for its first fund in an announcement on Nov. 15.

Apart from blockchain, Aligned Capital will invest in safe AI and innovative healthcare

According to the announcement, Aligned Capital will be investing in three major areas including blockchain and crypto, safe artificial intelligence and innovative healthcare. Cassatt says that he is planning to use ConsenSys software and collaborate with the startup incubator.

Aligned Capital’s initial backers include some high-profile figures in the crypto industry such as ConsenSys founder and Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, who will also serve as an advisor to the firm. Andrew Keys, an early ConsenSys exec and managing partner at DARMA Capital, is also on the list of the backers.

Meanwhile, other advisors include Stanford lecturer and Transformative Tech Lab co-founder Nichol Bradford and Long Now Foundation director of development Nicholas Paul Brysiewicz. Seth Goldstein, serial entrepreneur and angel investor, will join as a venture partner.

Investment in blockchain technology sees stable growth

Sam Cassatt’s new blockchain-focused fund is further proof of the overall steady growth of investment in blockchain technology. According to a study by identity management firm Okta, as much as 61% of high-profile digital companies worldwide are investing in blockchain.

In June 2019, billionaire investor Henry Kravis reportedly made his first crypto investment in blockchain-focused investment firm ParaFi Capital.

According to research data platform Research and Markets, blockchain spending in the United States will increase from $3.12 billion to $41 billion by 2025.

Congressional Research Service Examines Blockchain in Energy Sector

The Congressional Research Service has released a report that examines, among other things, the potential advantages and disadvantages of pursuing blockchain-based solutions for the energy sector.

The Congressional Research Service released their findings in a report on Aug. 9, entitled “Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the Energy Sector.”

In its report, the research group noted that launching a blockchain solution which allows consumers to purchase energy services within a distributed system, in particular, could make for an energy system that is more transparent, efficient and flexible for the consumer. However, releasing such a service also comes with potential issues related to distribution control as well as cybersecurity.

The report cites a survey conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute, which lends some insight and credence to these claims. In the survey, 77% of respondents apparently said that the energy sector lacks appropriate standards for implementing blockchain solutions.

Nonetheless, utilities in the United States are said to be conducting research or pilot stages for blockchain programs, while some European utilities have been using blockchain tech for over one year.

Problems for the U.S. arise in particular, since state and federal bodies have different responsibilities with respect to energy laws. The report notes that states usually have jurisdiction over retail electricity transactions, while the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission presides over wholesale electricity transactions and transmissions for interstate commerce. Thus, it’s critical for the sector to have regulatory clarity on whether distributed energy transactions would be counted as resale or wholesale enterprises, as per the report.

U.S. Department of Energy’s blockchain initiative

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has recently awarded a grant in the amount of $1.05 million to four organizations working to create a commercial, blockchain-based energy transaction platform. The four companies are ComEd, the University of Denver, Virginia Tech and BEM Controls. Dr. Amin Khodaei at the University of Denver commented:

“The growing proliferation of distributed energy resources calls for advanced management frameworks that support peer-to-peer communications while being fast, scalable and secure […] Now is the time to develop and demonstrate the technologies that can make a more sustainable and resilient future possible.”

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