(Bloomberg) – Before his cryptocurrency exchange bet Coinbase Global Inc. turned into a billion dollar exit, Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures, compared Bitcoin to science fiction: “We can be completely wrong, it can be a fantasy “He said at a marketing conference in May 2013. That was shortly after investing $ 2.5 million in Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, where people can buy and sell Bitcoin and other digital tokens like Ethereum and Litecoin “It’s straight out of a science fiction novel, but science fiction novels are the best things to read if you want to invest,” said Wilson. “It’s a good bet.” Eight years later it became Wilson’s bet on the most profitable exit in Union Square. Earlier this month, Coinbase was listed on the Nasdaq and rose to $ 328.28 per share, bringing the company’s valuation to around 8 when fully diluted $ 6 billion catapulted. This is a ten-fold increase from the last public funding round in 2018 and was valued at $ 4.6 billion at the end of the first day of trading. Wilson has to listen carefully to his gut to navigate the volatile cryptocurrency market and Coinbase’s rocky debut. However, the large volume of cryptocurrency trading is good for increasing Coinbase’s sales, and Bitcoin rebounded after hitting its lowest level since early March. Wilson said, “One of the hardest things about managing a venture capital portfolio is managing your big winners.” On the day of Coinbase listing, Union Square Ventures sold 4.7 million shares for $ 1.8 billion, according to securities filings. Coinbase isn’t Wilson’s first foray into an emerging tech trend, but it certainly is the biggest payout. His New York-based venture capital firm has invested in more than 100 companies and has completed ten public exits since it was founded in 2003. Nine of them received billion dollar valuations on the day they went public, according to the PitchBook and Securities and Exchange Commission filings compiled by Bloomberg.Wilson believed in the social networks that defined the 2010s early on and monitored the greatest achievements of Union Square, including Twitter Inc.’s $ 24 billion valuation after the company’s IPO in 2013, bringing the company’s stake to $ 1.2 billion in the initial public offering of online gaming company Zynga Inc. for $ 7 billion in 2011 and Yahoo! ‘s purchase of Tumblr for $ 1.1 billion in 2011. “Fred is driven by intellectual curiosity,” said Mark Pincus, founder and chairman of Zynga. “He didn’t get involved with the money.” Wilson declined to be interviewed for this article. He didn’t say “Investors should be the focus of attention when entrepreneurs and management are creating all of the value”. The Latest Version of Union Square According to the company’s website, the investment philosophy is focused on companies with strong communities that “expand access to knowledge, capital and wellbeing.” “Coinbase is at the center,” said Angela Lee, chief innovation officer at Columbia Business School, where she teaches venture capital and leadership courses. “Most venture capital firms deviate from their investment thesis. Union Square is very disciplined. They are very smart at taking a trend and breaking it down into components. Wilson began investing in Euclid Partners, a small venture capital firm in New York in 1987, and remembered his career was “an unbelievable start,” he wrote on his blog in 2008. Then came the Internet. Wilson co-founded Flatiron Partners and Jerry Colonna in 1996. Together, they invested $ 150 million in early-stage Internet deals that turned into $ 750 million in three years, according to Wilson’s blog post. “We were undisciplined and not diversified,” Colonna said in an interview. “We were a little too excited.” Colonna is now the CEO of executive coaching firm Reboot.io, where his work was described in a Wired article as follows: “This man makes founders cry.” Flatiron was folded during the dotcom bankruptcy in 2001, but Wilson brought this one Lessons on Union Square, said Colonna. “Fred is not a Vegas player. He doesn’t throw arrows on the wall or just follow other people’s investments.” Wilson’s belief in networking ideas, people and experiences on the Internet was on the move even before social media The New York native’s networking ethos grew out of the post-dot-com bubble era that brought about early social networking startups or “Web 2.0” companies like Friendster, Orkut and Tribe.net His views were first put into practice when he started his popular blog AVC in September 2003, shortly before he co-founded Union Square with Brad Burnham, and although his early posts revolved around family, hobbies, and music, it expanded Blog on tech, business and management and has become a tool for generating investment ideas and connecting with entrepreneurs, he said on a March 2006 episode on Busin’s podcast essweek cutting edge. “The process of writing helps me crystallize my thoughts on what is interesting and what is not, what is potentially strategic, and what is potentially risky in a given sector.” One of Wilson’s earliest thoughts on cryptocurrency was in 2011 when he wrote : “An alternative currency with roots in peer-to-peer networks and based on an algorithm that is transparent to all is an idea whose time has come. “Union Square’s founding theory of finding emerging, fast-growing online communities has since evolved beyond the original social media to include other blockchain and cryptocurrency startups like Stacks 2.0, an open network for decentralized apps and contracts on the blockchain , and even CryptoKitties, an Ethereum-based virtual game that allows players to adopt, raise, and trade virtual cats that sparked the craze for non-fungible tokens or NFTs. Coinbase’s groundbreaking listing was the biggest investment in recent years for Wilson, whose enthusiasm has been measured against crypto evangelists like investor Mike Novogratz or the Winklevoss brothers who started Gemini’s digital asset exchange. In January 2018, Wilson wrote about fixing earnings at a time when Bitcoin was taking off. “I know a lot of crypto owners think selling items is a mistake. And it could be. Or maybe not. You just don’t know, ”he said. By the end of that year, Bitcoin was down over 70%. More articles like this can be found at bloomberg.com. Sign up now to stay up to date with the most trusted business news source. © 2021 Bloomberg L.P.