Crypto hedge fund Pantera to pour $200m into AI: ‘Everyone will be using AI’

Crypto hedge fund Pantera to pour $200m into AI: ‘Everyone will be using AI’
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Cosmo Jiang is a portfolio manager at crypto hedge fund Pantera Capital. Credit: Darren Joseph
  • Crypto investor Pantera Capital is raising a new $1 billion dollar fund.
  • Portfolio manager Cosmo Jiang said over $200 million of that is earmarked for AI.
  • He shared his AI-crypto strategy and how he looks for projects.

The way Cosmo Jiang puts it, every crypto company will soon be an artificial intelligence venture.

“Ten,15, 20 years from now, everyone will be using AI,” he told DL News, so saying you’re investing in an AI firm “will be as stupid as saying ‘I’m investing in a company that has a website.’”

As portfolio manager at crypto hedge fund Pantera Capital, Jiang says he is actively looking for projects using AI to boost blockchain businesses — or vice-versa.

The crypto investment firm — which lists Coinbase, Circle and Bitstamp among its portfolio companies— is raising a new $1 billion fund to inject fresh capital into the industry.

An earlier fund injected about 15% to 20% of its capital into AI-adjacent blockchain projects, Jiang said, expecting the new fund to invest even more.

That would suggest Pantera Capital — which is expected to have the fund’s first close in 2025 — will invest over $200 million into AI-adjacent crypto projects over the rest of this decade.

While not actively committing himself to that figure, “the math would suggest that’s reasonable,” Jiang said.

AI opportunity

Jiang’s comments highlight the growing buzz around the intersection of AI and blockchain technologies.

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Bolstered by estimates that the combined power of crypto and AI may add $20 trillion to the global economy by 2030, investors have injected over $98.8 million into the sector since the beginning of 2024.

AI tokens achieved a total market value of $26 billion, and Bitcoin miners are supplementing their income by providing processing power for Silicon Valley giants to train their AI tools.

Others are also seizing on the trend.

Hedge fund manager Brevan Howard’s digital assets boss Gautam Sharma has said it’s exploring opportunities in the space.

Jiang said AI and blockchain have a shared heritage, with many of its developers naturally floating between the two sectors.

As an example, he pointed to Sam Altman, who “started two independent companies that he thinks are actually synergistic and need to coexist: OpenAI and Worldcoin.”

What does Pantera look for?

Pantera Capital has hardly kept its interest in the intersection of AI and crypto a secret — the firm has inked blog posts, hosted panels, and generally gushed about it for months.

When asked what the firm is looking for, Jiang was more coy.

He did reveal though that he wants to avoid “opportunistic entrepreneurs” who “go to college saying they want to be an entrepreneur with zero idea of what they want to build, and they just do whatever is getting the most funding.”

While recognising that the AI industry is still in its early stages, Jiang said he sees opportunities in how blockchain can provide AI agents with the rails to better perform their tasks, whatever they may be.

AI agents are programmes that independently interact and collect data to better perform pre-determined tasks.

He also sees opportunities in how blockchain can help AI development verify data.

One company doing just that is Nexus Laboratories, which is one of the reasons why Pantera Capital co-led the startup’s recent $25 million Series A funding round.

A third opportunity is using the rails of blockchain to train AI. Bittensor is one such project, Jiang said.

Pantera Capital has invested in Bittensor, but did not disclose how much it has invested in the project.

Bittensor runs a blockchain similarly to other cryptocurrencies. Unlike Bitcoin, Bittensor’s miners validate new blocks by completing tasks, many of which are AI-related.

But those examples are just scratching the surface, Jiang said. “There will be a tonne of AI and crypto opportunities.”

Eric Johansson is DL News’ News Editor. Got a tip? Email at eric@dlnews.com.