Private equity firm BnL Growth Partners has joined a multi-million dollar fund to facilitate blockchain advances for smaller finance institutions in Europe.
BB Fund is a ‘Huge Opportunity’
BnL, formed by ex-specialists from tech giant IND Group, will administer the Banking On the Blockchain (BB) Fund as “lead partner” along with the fund’s creator, Singapore-based venture capital outfit Life.Sreda.
The BB Fund is set to raise $50 million USD by the end of 2016, with another $50 million due in the first half of next year. Fintech consultant Chris Skinner, the original creator of the BB Fund, said in a press release that the opportunities afforded by BnL will allow smaller European banks in particular a new channel to take advantage of blockchain tech.
With the blockchain space dominated by large global banks and VC firms, we see our partnership with BnL Growth Partners as a huge opportunity to provide a channel for banks in the [Central and Eastern European] region through which they can gain exposure to the rapidly-growing blockchain space.
BnL itself said it sees potential in the zone which is “really exciting.” With the BB Fund stationed in London, the financial fallout from Brexit in the banking business sector appears not to be troubling the operation.
“In the CEE region, we see plenty of really exciting initiatives around blockchain and a lot of new approaches to this revolutionary technology,” buoyant BnL co-founder, Balázs Vinnai, explained.
BnL will, per the press release, target startups in the CEE area in order to give them access to blockchain potential mostly harnessed by the myriad consortia and focus groups of the financial giants.
The company will also “guide and advise financial institutions in the region on different business models, and … find relevant use cases and appropriate technical architectures.”
Life.Sreda meanwhile has committed $5 million to the fund, with “an additional $20m in soft-commitments from financial institutions so far,” according to BB Fund managing director Thomas Labenbacher.
While the decision to work on smaller banking institutions is uncommon, the literature around the fund tells a familiar story in its total focus on blockchain tech and omission of Bitcoin.
An increasing number of banks are announcing heightened attention being paid to the blockchain. At the same time, governments in countries producing this activity are treating Bitcoin with suspicion or have even tabled a ban in favor of a centralized, bank-controlled alternative.
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Images courtesy of bnlgrowth.com, cre.tech, bitrss.com