Dan Morehead from Pantera Capital Reveals Why They’ve Invested in the Blockchain-focused TON Initiative

Dan Morehead, CEO at Pantera Capital, confirmed that Pantera recently made the largest investment in its history in the TON initiative.

Dan Morehead explained via social media that TON is a Layer 1 network originally “designed by Telegram and continued by the open source community.”

Dan added that at Pantera Capital, they believe TON has the capacity “to introduce crypto to the masses because it is used extensively within the Telegram network.”

Dan pointed out that Telegram has “over 900 million monthly active users on its future-facing, fast, and secure messaging platform that is used for personal and group communications, large-scale community building, content sharing, and more.”

As stated in a blog post by Pantera Capital:

“What makes me so passionate about bitcoin and blockchain is that it will change the world. It will have a massively positive impact on billions of people. And, not like in some distant, theoretical sense – like concrete improvement for billions within a decade.”

As noted in the update from Pantera, Telegram was founded by Pavel in 2013 on the basis of freedom-first.

It is a neutral social platform “that is impartial and doesn’t take any side.”

At 21, Pavel and his brother Nikolai founded VK, dubbed “the Facebook of Russia”.

The platform was “so good and free from Russian media control, that Russian opposition used it extensively to organize large protests in Russia.”

The government pressured Pavel “to censor and ban some of the online opposition communities and he refused.”

Pavel Durov, had reportedly said in a 2013 blog post

“Neither I nor my team will engage in political censorship. We will not remove the anti-corruption community of Navalny or hundreds of other communities, which we were ordered to block. Freedom of information is an inalienable right in a post-industrial society, and without this right the existence of [VK] does not make sense.”

In 2013, he left Russia for good. He immediately founded Telegram, again with Nikolai, “on the principles of Freedom, Openness, and Expression.”

Pavel has previously shared:

“Everything in my life was about becoming free; to the extent possible, my mission in life was to allow other people to also become free. This is the mission of Telegram.”

Telegram is a community integrating blockchain technology. According to Pantera, that’s just “got to be easier.”

They’ve begun rolling out a blockchain wallet to their 930 million users.

Pantera Capital added:

“Investors often ask us where value will accrue in blockchain – whether it’s venture investing in companies like Alchemy or Circle, investing in private tokens before they open to the public like Arbitrum and StarkWare, capturing alpha in liquid tokens, or access to special opportunities such as discounted token placements directly from foundation treasuries. We think the answer is: all four. Our family of funds structure is somewhat a function of our history: launching the first of each type of blockchain fund – we ended up with four separate funds.”

The firm also mentioned:

“They cover the entire spectrum of blockchain assets. They are mutually exclusive, so any asset (except bitcoin) can only go in only one fund. Those evergreen hedge funds are still open for those with specific interests or liquidity requirements. We’ve found that most investors view blockchain as an asset class and would prefer to have a manager allocate amongst the various asset types.”

Pantera also noted that this compelled them “to create Pantera Blockchain Fund (IV) in 2021, a wrapper for the entire spectrum of blockchain assets.”

They are announcing the “launch of its successor and their fifth venture-style fund, Pantera Fund V, in 2025.”

It will have four main buckets of investments.

Fund V will continue “to invest in venture, investing in private companies that are using blockchain to do something better, faster, and cheaper.”

When Blockchain Fund (IV) is fully invested (likely at the end of the year), all new venture deals “will go in Fund V.”

They’ll continue to be “very active in seeding the best early-stage protocol tokens.”

The investment process is very similar “to early-stage venture, meeting protocol developers when they have the genesis of an idea, investing in the project and then trying to help them grow over the three or four years it takes to become public, and to get out into the markets.”

They also are offered very “compelling special opportunities, including discounted tokens directly from foundation treasury which are subject to lockup periods of a few years.”

Twenty percent of the fund will be “invested in liquid/public tokens.”

Their focus continues to be “finding and growing the most promising ideas in the blockchain space and continuing to generate outsized returns for our current and future investors.”

Similar to its predecessor, Blockchain Fund (IV), they believe this new fund is “the most efficient way to get exposure to blockchain as an asset class.”

It is a continuation of the strategies they “have employed at Pantera for a decade across eight venture and hedge funds.”

LPs have the flexibility to invest in just venture equity (Class V for “venture”), or in venture, private early-stage tokens, and locked-up treasury tokens (Class I for “illiquids”), or the all-in-one Class A.

Pantera Fund V will have its first closing in Q1 2025.

They are targeting $1 billion.

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