Japan’s richest man, Masayoshi Son, is a well-known legend in Japan. From poor students starting from scratch to founding the SoftBank Group, SoftBank has grown into one of the world’s largest IT “empires” in more than 30 years. And it is such a person who has been full of legends throughout his life, but has planted a big trouble in investing in Bitcoin: According to foreign media reports, Sun Zhengyi left the market with a huge loss after investing 200 million US dollars at the peak of Bitcoin in 2017.
Recently, SoftBank has invested heavily in the blockchain industry again, leading the investment of the British digital bank Revolut, which is valued at US$33 billion. The financing amount reached US$800 million, accounting for 10.58 of the total weekly investment disclosed on July 10-16. 80% of 100 million U.S. dollars.
Despite his personal frustration on Bitcoin, he did not change his views on the blockchain industry as a result, nor did he influence the direction of SoftBank Group’s rush to deploy the blockchain all the way, so we saw that the SoftBank empire has become a galloping zone. Blockchain arena “Big Mac”, today, we will delve into the story behind Japan’s richest man Sun Zhengyi and its Softbank Group:
Become a millionaire at the age of 18, three investments have established the status of the arena
“SoftBank” is a venture capital company mainly dedicated to the IT industry. It was established by Son Masayoshi in Japan and was successfully listed in Japan in 1994. According to statistics, so far SoftBank has invested in more than 600 companies around the world, and has large shares in more than 300 major IT companies in the world.
“Softbank” investment provides a wide range of businesses, including the Internet, broadband networks, e-commerce, technology, finance, sales services and other fields, mainly in IT and finance. In recent years, SoftBank has repeatedly entered the top 500 list of different world companies, all in the middle and upper reaches, and ranked 27th in the “2021 Forbes Global 2000” in the recent past.
But today Softbank can achieve such a high status, it has to mention its founder Sun Zhengyi. It can be said that without Sun Zhengyi, there would be no SoftBank today.
Sun Zhengyi, born in 1957, jumped to enter the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in economics at the age of 16. In 1975, when he was 18 years old, he earned his first million dollars in his life. When he graduated from university, he sold the Unison World company he founded in college to a partner for US$2 million and returned to Japan. Subsequently, at the age of 24, he founded Softbank in Japan and received investment from Fujitsu and Toshiba . In 1994, when Sun Zhengyi was 37 years old, SoftBank successfully listed in Japan, and he became a billionaire with a net worth of US$1 billion.
Speaking of Sun Zhengyi, I have to mention the three investments that established his status as the starting point for SoftBank to become an investment empire. These three investments are respectively an investment in Alibaba, an investment in Yahoo! (Yahoo!), a famous Internet portal in the United States, and a huge cash investment of nearly 25 billion pounds in 2016 for the British IT company ARM. This is also The largest cash investment to date.
First of all, as early as 1995, Sun Zhengyi invested 2 million U.S. dollars in Yahoo, which had just started his business. In March of the following year, SoftBank invested another 100 million U.S. dollars, thus owning 33% of Yahoo’s shares. Just two months after Sun Zhengyi’s capital injection, Yahoo went public in the United States. Just selling 2% of Yahoo’s shares he held, Sun Zhengyi cashed out more than 400 million U.S. dollars and made a net profit of more than 300 million U.S. dollars.
In his investment in Alibaba, Sun Zhengyi once again invested 20 million U.S. dollars in Alibaba in 2000 with his “venomous” vision and decisiveness. He obtained 34.4% of the shares through the same share but with different rights. Four years later, he again injected 60 million US dollars into Ali. As a result, SoftBank’s shareholding in Ali reached nearly 40% at the peak. And now, this $80 million investment has doubled by at least 1,400 times and is worth more than 100 billion U.S. dollars.
If the focus of Alibaba and Yahoo’s investment is arbitrage, then the acquisition of ARM at a sky-high price is a strategic investment. In 2016, Sun Zhengyi decided to acquire the British chip company ARM with a huge cash investment of nearly 25 billion pounds. At the same time, this is also the largest acquisition in European history. It only took ten weeks before it was over and the acquisition was completed.
So far, Sun Zhengyi has gradually established his reputation in the United States, China, Europe and the entire world through the three investments of Yahoo, Alibaba and ARM. This also strengthened its determination to invest and laid the foundation of the investment empire. At the same time, this is also the foundation and source of inspiration for the establishment of the Vision Fund.
However, Sun Zhengyi personally stepped on pits in Bitcoin investment . He admitted that after investing in Bitcoin, he would spend a lot of time to check price trends, which has affected his focus on SoftBank’s business. Therefore, he soon sold the bitcoins in his hand. According to the Wall Street Journal, he lost nearly 130 million U.S. dollars when he sold bitcoins in 2018.
Invest in Ripple, lay out the CeFi sector such as blockchain payment
In recent years, “SoftBank” investment has also expanded to the blockchain field, and even earlier than most investment institutions and various technology “giants”, it can be said to be the “forerunner of blockchain.”
Although Sun Zhengyi himself was not so clear about cryptocurrency. In the early days, although he had a negative attitude towards cryptocurrency, he was still optimistic about blockchain technology. He had made it clear at the SoftBank shareholder meeting in 18 years. Said: ” Blockchain is a new technology that has just begun to emerge, and we are actively using blockchain technology .”
As early as September 2016, SoftBank invested $55 million to help blockchain startup Ripple complete the B round of financing . You must know that even now, the $55 million in financing is a huge amount of financing for a blockchain startup company.
As far as I know, this is Softbank’s first investment in the crypto world, and the price of Softbank’s investment in Ripple is rumored to be around 3 cents, while the highest price of Ripple is around 25 yuan, which is a nearly thousand-fold increase. amazing.
Since then, SoftBank’s layout in the blockchain has also increased, and the scope has also expanded.
In 2018, SoftBank Group and Cloud Intelligent Robot Operator Dana Technology announced the joint development of a blockchain-based authentication solution, combining CloudMinds’ blockchain-based identity verification with SoftBank’s identity verification platform.
Soon after, Softbank injected capital into a technology finance company called Crebe, and the capital injection reached 50 million U.S. dollars. This was another major move by Softbank in the blockchain finance field after Ripple.
The main reason for SoftBank’s investment in Crebe is to target the field of “AI + social finance”, and is committed to combining blockchain technology to create a new social financial system technology system and build a new social financial business model, which is quite far-sighted.
Then in 2019, SoftBank (SBI) invested tens of millions of dollars to acquire Taiwanese blockchain-related company OwlTing and acquired 20% of the shares. OwlTing is a technology company that uses blockchain technology to provide traceability and anti-counterfeiting systems.
In the same year, SoftBank cooperated with the wallet card development company Dynamics to create its own SBC wallet card-“Softbank Card 3.0”, which works similarly to traditional debit cards and has a built-in cryptocurrency wallet. Encryption system.
Compared to before, since 2021, especially in the near future, SoftBank’s layout in the blockchain has been more intensive.
Beginning at the beginning of this year, SBI Crypto, a subsidiary of Japan’s Softbank Financial Group SBI, announced the opening of its Bitcoin mining pool business. In March, SoftBank (UK) completed its strategic investment in Juggernaut (JGN), which is also the first investment made by SoftBank Group (UK) in the field of NFT and DeFi agreements.
JGN helps traditional enterprises and blockchain to create a new decentralized and more efficient business model by introducing innovative DeFi modular methods, NFT trading markets, and distributed autonomous organizations (DAOs).
In the NFT field, in addition to JGN, SoftBank is also preparing to lead the investment in Sorare, a digital football collectibles platform headquartered in Paris, France. The company is valued at more than US$3.8 billion, and British venture capital firm Atomico will also participate. According to reports, this funding will also be the largest financing in the history of the French technology industry, and SoftBank will once again set a record.
In addition, SoftBank also invested in the cross-chain aggregation transaction protocol O3 Swap created by the O3 Labs team, one of the world’s earliest crypto wallet development teams, which was founded in Tokyo in 2017, which was a big fire some time ago.
However, SoftBank’s activity is not only in encryption projects, but in CeFi sectors such as blockchain payment and transaction platform banks, SoftBank is a bit “crazy”.
According to TechCrunch, Paystand, a B2B blockchain payment company headquartered in California, USA, has completed a US$50 million Series C financing led by NewView Capital, and SoftBank’s “SB Opportunity Fund” followed suit. cast.
Paystand was established in 2014, hoping to use cloud technology and Ethereum blockchain to build a payment platform to simplify the commercial payment process. Customers include credit card companies JCB, Silicon Valley Bank and other companies.
In May, SoftBank first participated in a US$26 million financing of Brazilian crypto asset management company Hashdex. Entering July, SoftBank has moved more frequently. First, through its newly established Latin American fund, it led the investment in Brazil’s first cryptocurrency exchange Mercado Bitcoin’s 200 million U.S. dollar B round of financing.
On the 15th, SoftBank announced that it would lead the US$800 million financing of British digital bank Revolut mentioned at the beginning with Tiger Global Capital, and then announced the completion of the US$900 million Series B financing on the encryption platform FTX. You can also see SoftBank’s Figure.
In addition, more than 60 investors including Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, Coinbase Ventures, and Paradigm participated in the investment, with a post-investment valuation of as high as 18 billion U.S. dollars, the largest financing record in the venture.
Softbank’s blockchain layout appears, or reveals the traditional VC encryption layout
Since the beginning of this year, SoftBank has made frequent investment and financing activities in the encryption industry. Among the 5 investment and financing events of more than US$50 million, SoftBank led the investment in 2 cases. And since this bull market, SoftBank has increased its investment in the blockchain industry, and has successively deployed and extended it.
At the same time, the amount of project financing that received Softbank’s investment has shown a continuous upward trend, from several million to tens of millions of dollars before, and then to the recent level of 200 million, 800 million, and 900 million US dollars.
In fact, Softbank’s recent actions on the blockchain not only represent itself, but also reflect the actions of traditional VCs . In recent years, especially this year, compared to before, we can often see that some traditional VCs with high reputation are gaining more and more attention in the field of blockchain and cryptocurrency investment and financing.
In previous investment and financing events, there have also been some high-value cases, and in these cases we can see SoftBank, traditional VC Samsung Ventures, Jack Ma’s family-managed fund Blue Pool Capital, and Shunwei Capital under Lei Jun. Wait. So why is this?
On the one hand, in the investment world, VCs often have “FOMO sentiment”. In fact, this is the same as our investors. When we see other investors “get on the car” early on a project, we will have an emotion. : “Should I also participate in this project? In case I didn’t participate, then I might have missed a good opportunity to get a huge return.”
Especially, when we did not participate in this project because of concerns about risks and other reasons, and other investors who participated in this project profited as a result, then this sentiment would be amplified.
Similarly, when traditional VCs are still on the sidelines, such as a16z in the United States, USV, domestic Sequoia Capital, etc., these investment institutions have already participated in the blockchain and cryptocurrency world, and have staked many top projects When a huge risk reward of dozens of times or even hundreds of times is obtained, the “FOMO sentiment” of traditional VCs will appear and be magnified.
In addition, with the successful listing of Coinbase on US exchanges, a very representative trigger, this means that cryptocurrencies are not completely unrecognized. As long as they embrace supervision, they have a chance to be recognized. It is also legal and compliant. of.
In addition, the frequency layout of traditional VCs has a lot to do with the fundamental changes in the encryption industry. The encryption wave set off by DeFi in 2020 has activated the encryption market, allowing them to see that the encryption industry can be connected with tradition and bring great innovations. The birth of NFT has allowed more traditional VCs to see the future possibilities of the blockchain and encryption industry , allowing everyone to come out of the previous “huge bubble” and believe that this industry has great possibilities.
SoftBank has shined in its past investments, which has established its position in the technology investment sector. In recent years, it has begun to deploy blockchain, especially since this year, it has been active in the blockchain and encryption industry, and it has made a lot of investment and layout.
This is SoftBank Group and Sun Zhengyi’s attempt in new areas, and it is also a direct manifestation of their optimism about the blockchain and encryption industry. Can “SoftBank” also continue its past glorious “records” in the layout of the blockchain?
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Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/blockchain-layout-reveals-softbank-or-reveals-traditional-vc-encryption-layout/
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