Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary Plans to Launch New Web3 Fund

Kevin O’Leary recently became a UAE citizen.
Image source: Getty Images

Quick take:

  • The lead investor of the new Web3 fund is from the United Arab Emirates.
  • O’Leary said there is a significant amount of interest in the UAE to invest in the Web3 space.
  • He stated that JPMorgan Chase CEO feels threatened by how crypto is disrupting TradFi payments systems.

Canadian entrepreneur and Shark Tank judge Kevin O’Leary is planning to launch a new Web3 fund called Cipher. This was revealed during a panel he was speaking on at the Converge22 blockchain and cryptocurrency conference on Wednesday in San Francisco.

He recently became a citizen of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as he wanted to “work freely” in a region that has welcomed some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges including FTX, Binance, and

O’Leary said there is a significant amount of interest in the UAE to invest in the Web3 space and that the fund’s lead investor is from the UAE. The region’s government and businesses have been expanding and pouring capital into the NFT and metaverse sector. 

Its health ministry launched a metaverse customer service centre in January, followed by an NFT exhibition in the metaverse held by the region’s cultural hub. In June, UAE’s Ajman City expanded its police service into the metaverse. 

UAE-based business conglomerate DAMAC Group announced in April the launch of a $100 million fund under its newly created unit D-Labs to build digital cities in the metaverse. 

Commenting on crypto assets, O’Leary said: “We’ve got to get away from this speculative price of an asset here. We’ve got to find reasons that this [technology] gets embedded into the economy.”

He also stated that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon – who called Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies a decentralised Ponzi scheme during the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services hearing last week –  feels threatened by how crypto is disrupting TradFi payments systems as banks profit from transaction fees. He explained that stablecoins could  reduce fees worldwide.

“This is my interpretation. He feels threatened by some of this technology, particularly around payments,” O’Leary said. “This isn’t about speculation on asset price. This is about reducing the fees of how the world’s economies work more transparent, more productive, completely auditable, regulated, but less expensive.”

O’Leary is a vocal advocate for Web3 technology. He is a spokesperson for FTX and an investor in fintech company, Circle, which is the issuer of the USDC stablecoin and the organiser of the Converge22 blockchain and cryptocurrency conference.

As the U.S. work on legislation to regulate stablecoins, O’Leary predicted that crypto assets – which are still in a slump – will see a 10% appreciation overnight once the draft bill is approved. 

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