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Coinbase Backer Parlays ‘Fantasy’ Bet Into $4.6 Billion

  • Crypto exchange’s $86 billion valuation eclipsed Twitter’s IPO
  • Coinbase is one of buzziest investments for Union Square
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Coinbase IPO: What You Need to Know in 4 Minutes

Before his bet on cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. became a multi-billion-dollar exit, Union Square Ventures co-founder Fred Wilson compared Bitcoin to science fiction.

“We may be completely wrong, it may be a fantasy,” he said at a marketing conference in May 2013. That was shortly after he had invested $2.5 million in Coinbase, the U.S.’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, where people can buy and sell Bitcoin and other digital tokens such as Ethereum and Litecoin. “It’s straight out of a sci-fi novel, but sci-fi novels are the best things you can read if you want to invest,” Wilson said. “It’s a gut bet.”