Shortly after Elon Musk rug-pulled the entire crypto market by speaking out about environmental concerns tied to bitcon, reports emerged that Point72, the successor firm to Steve Cohen's SAC Capital, was about to "get big" in the crypto space. A few months later, the firm posted a job opening for a head of crypto.
Now, Steve Cohen's firm is ready to reveal the identity of its first major crypto bet: Point72's venture arm (with equity indexes still at record highs, alternatives offer a much more attractive growth profile) has invested in the crypto-market data and intelligence firm Messari.
Point72 led the Series A funding round for Messari, which closed at $21MM. Adam Carson, an operating partner at Point72 Ventures, joined the Messari board as part of the deal.
It's the first time Cohen has publicly backed a crypto company. Whether the Mets owner has any other crypto exposure remains unclear.
Point72 Ventures has deployed about $500MM in private investments since it started in 2016, focusing on early-stage financial technology companies.
Carson, the Point72 Ventures partner who is joining Messari's board said that "while investor participation in the crypto industry has grown exponentially over the past three years, current crypto research and analysis tools are still lacking the sophisticated signals and data that more advanced investors need.” Now that it's flush with cash, Messari - which aims to bring "transparency" to the crypto market - plans to add engineering and research staff and launch new products. "Messari is filling that much-needed space," Carson added.
The announcement follows SEC chief Gary Gensler's speech about his plans to bring new regulation to the crypto markets. Gensler's point was that if crypto is going to see wider adoption, it needs more rules.
For other major developments in the crypto world, readers should check out the latest research from a team of JPM analysts for whom no opportunity for crypto bashing is too small. Is the involvement of Cohen, who was barred from the securities industry for a few years due to allegations of insider trading (he's said to be the inspiration for Bobby Axelrod's character in the TV show "Billions"), simply more evidence that the space attracts people who play fast and loose with the rules?