Asset management firm Stone Ridge launches acceleration program focused on Bitcoin • TechCrunch

Asset management firm Stone Ridge launches acceleration program focused on Bitcoin • TechCrunch

asset management company Stone Ridge Launch accelerator to start up, In Wolf’s Clothing (wolf), which will be dedicated to growing Bitcoin-focused apps, the team told TechCrunch exclusively.

The program will bring four groups per year, each consisting of eight to 12 teams, or about 30 to 50 founders, to New York City from around the world for eight weeks at a time to focus on building on the Bitcoin-focused Lightning Network and taro Protocol, Kelly Brewster, CEO of Wolff, told TechCrunch.

The Lightning Network is a Layer 2 payment system built on top of Bitcoin that aims to enable faster payment transactions. Separately, Taro is a protocol Launched in April of this year to help issue digital assets on the Bitcoin blockchain that can then be transferred to the Lightning Network instantly in low-fee transactions.

“Both are generic and usable enough in such a wide range of applications that it’s like saying you’re starting an HTTP-focused accelerator,” Brewster said. “It’s a specific technology but business use cases can be incredibly broad. The fact that we’re so focused is a big part of the move and can be a huge draw for founders.”

The teams at the accelerator will range from small start-up teams to early stage companies. Brewster said they will receive an individual investment of $250,000, while one group winner will receive an additional $500,000 for a total of $750,000.

Some of the topics Brewster is interested in seeing startups expand include micropayments and flipping through Lightning and Taro.

NYDIG, a subsidiary of Stone Ridge, also supports the acceleration program, along with mentoring and investments from Bitcoin-focused venture capital firms and operating companies. Brewster said the names of companies offering offshore capital would not be disclosed. However, he added that all investors and mentors are already working with Bitcoin and Lightning. “This ranges from specialized venture capital earmarked for Lightning up through public companies in fintech and banking.”

Prior to this position, Brewster held the position of Director of Marketing for NYDIG and worked at Stone Ridge for approximately six years. Prior to that, Brewster spent nearly 10 years at Goldman Sachs “in a variety of roles,” he said. “Over the past six years, I’ve had the opportunity to help start a number of businesses and have fallen in love with the process of taking an idea and turning it into something real.”

The Lightning Network is a Layer 2 payment protocol built on top of Bitcoin that aims to provide instant payments and scalability at low cost to the blockchain. It allows users to quickly send or receive Bitcoin by making transactions outside the main blockchain network or, like Coinbase He said, “Like a lane of vehicles taking up a lot of space on a highway.”

“In Stone Ridge, we’ve been watching Lightning for a long time now,” Brewster said. “The network has reached a critical mass over the past 12 months and there is enough capacity now that you can do things in the real world with great power on the network.”

In the past, the network was implemented by Twitter for users to send and receive Bitcoin “tips” through the Lightning Network-focused payments app Strike. It has also been implemented in the wallet created by the El Salvador government, Chivo, so that citizens can complete cross-border transactions.

“The growth in Lightning over the past year has been extraordinary,” Brewster said. “In some ways, it’s the perfect moment to step back and see where there is a signal or just noise. Some of the clearest signals come from lightning. The growth and network capacity has been fantastic.”

The news comes at an interesting time for NYDIG, which recently laid off about 33% of its employees, according to the Wall Street Journal. Report last week. In December 2021, NYDIG I raised 1 billion dollarsWhich valued the company at more than $7 billion.

Brewster declined to comment on the layoffs, but said: “Wolf’s release should be a clear sign of Stone Ridge’s faith and long-term investment in Bitcoin. It’s clearly a tough environment out there, but now is the time to make investments after two years.”

There are a number of cryptocurrency accelerators that have popped up across the ecosystem. Some range from specific layer 2 blockchain accelerators such as ribbed To general web3-focused software such as DAO . Alliance. While some offer capital like Wolf is planning, others invite investors to demo days in the hope that they will invest in startup ventures.

“In times like this, the companies that are being built are going to pick up on these secular trends and really take root as they accelerate,” Brewster said. “So we think this is the perfect moment to build rather than try to do something ourselves at Stone Ridge – we want to help and empower hundreds of other founders.”

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