Mar 10, 2022 - Economy

A $165 million effort to make bitcoin more useful

Illustration of a pot of Bitcoins at the end of a rainbow.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A group of blockchain investors has committed $165 million to make bitcoin more of a force in the decentralized finance and app development world.

Why it matters: Bitcoin has long been considered just a store of value, while most hardcore blockchain app development has been focused on ethereum and other chains.

Driving the news: Okcoin, along with the Stacks Accelerator and Stacks Foundation, said it launched what they're calling Bitcoin Odyssey, an initiative to put money into teams building BTC-based smart contract applications.

  • "If we’re right, we’re about to see a lot more DeFi projects being built on top of bitcoin," Alex Chizhik, Bitcoin Odyssey's co-chair, tells Axios. "I’m excited to see a renaissance of development on the bitcoin blockchain."
  • Participating firms include Digital Currency Group, Genesis Block Ventures, White Star Capital, and GSR.
  • This effort seeks to make bitcoin — still by far the largest cryptocurrency by market cap — more useful to developers.

How it works: Stacks is an open-source network that runs in parallel with the bitcoin blockchain and enables BTC to be used for many of the same smart contract applications as ETH — including decentralized finance and NFT purchasing.

  • The Bitcoin Odyssey initiative will support bitcoin- and Stacks-focused projects working on things like the metaverse, play-to-earn gaming, DeFi, NFTs, DAOs, and other areas.
  • Selected projects will receive funding as well as hands-on assistance and support on project scaling, smart contract development, recruiting, market making, and other areas.

This story originally appeared in Axios Pro's Fintech Deals newsletter. Start your free trial.

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