Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian reportedly bought 50,000 Ether (ETH) for just $15,000 during the cryptocurrency’s 2014 presale, a price of just 30 cents per coin.
Ohanian, who left the social media giant in 2020, told Forbes on Feb. 21 article that he found the idea of a decentralized store of value very attractive, partly due to his Armenian background, which prompted him to make an early bet on Ethereum.
“Any group of people who have in their consciousness or in their collective history some idea of persecution, especially by the state, makes the idea of a custodian of value that is not controlled by any state very attractive. And so it was hard-wired into me in some ways and kind of led me to the idea of a decentralized currency.”
At current prices, this investment is worth a whopping $82.5 million according to on CoinMarketCap, representing an increase of 549,589%.
He went on to explain how his family’s heirloom carpets were seized by Turkish soldiers during the Armenian Genocide in World War 1, leading to his interest in “inalienable property”.
Because of his aversion to confiscation assets, Ohanian is a big proponent of self-governance, managing private keys to some of his most valuable cryptocurrency-related investments to ensure they are protected from exchanges that are more vulnerable to the prying arms of governments.
When Ohanian heard about Ethereum at a meeting with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, Ohanian said he saw the potential for developers to build a wide variety of potentially intangible assets on top of it, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
As a result, he made his initial investment in Ether, but noted in an interview that “in hindsight, I didn’t invest nearly as much as I should have.”
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Ohanian founded venture capitalist firm 776 in 2020 using proceeds from his early investments in Ether and Coinbase, which invested in 29 cryptocurrency-related startups and raised $500 million in February 2022 to finance similar investments.
In line with Ohanian’s views that bear markets give investors an opportunity to buy assets at discounted prices, the company sees the latest market decline as ideal time for long-term bets in the crypto industry.
The firm currently boasts over $750 million in assets under management.
Ohanian noted that while cryptocurrency is extremely volatile, “there are a lot of people who have that generational awareness that they see massive inflation,” which makes cryptocurrency volatility much more palatable for those people.