Published On: Thu, Jul 10th, 2014

Russian-Jewish Billionaire Yuri Milner Loves Bitcoin



The virtual currency Bitcoin has received an important endorsement from one of the world’s most successful serial investors.

Yuri Milner

Russian Billionaire investor and the founder of Digital Sky Technologies (DST) Global and co-owner of Mail.ru Group Yuri Milner, has made a strong statement of support in the virtual currency known as Bitcoin. He has reportedly invested an undisclosed amount of his personal fortune in Xapo, a new Silicon Valley Startup that acts as a Bitcoin bank.

Xapo, headquartered in Hong Kong, expects to grow into the emerging Bitcoin market. As the limited number of algorithms-generated virtual currency increase in value, it is not surprising that Milner is seeking a share in that market.

Milner has a reputation for picking the right high tech startups to invest in. He was an initial investor in Facebook, Zynga, Groupon and Spotify, when all of those companies were still considered startups.

His DST acquired a $1.2 billion stake in Twitter when it first went public, after having already invested $400 million in the social media company in 2011.

It is not surprising that Milner has made this investment, considering that he once told Forbes that by 2020 there would be 50 Internet companies with a total market cap of $55 billion. The investor further predicted that another ten such companies will be among the top 100 globally. The entire market cap of all such companies, he believes, will double from $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion in that timeframe.

Last year, Milner moved DST’s headquarters to Hong Kong, in order to be closer to the e-commerce website Alibaba and mobile-phone maker Xiaomi, in which he has large investments. Just last week, the firm launched its fourth investment fund.

Born into a Jewish Family in Moscow, Yuri Milner, 52, has an estimated net worth of more than $1.8 billion.

Milner got his start in finance when he worked for the World Bank in Washington, DC, in the early 1990s. His big break came in 1995, when the Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky appointed him CEO of Alliance-Menatep, an investment brokerage company.

Originally trained as a particle physicist, Milner has given $3 million in prizes to each of nine theoretical physicists, including Stephen Hawking.

Milner, together with Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg, is a backer of the Breakthrough Prize, which aims to reward researchers and doctors who make discoveries in the life sciences.

 

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