Founders Fund, the venture capital firm co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, closed almost all of its eight-year bet on cryptocurrencies shortly before the market began to crash last year, generating about $1.8bn in returns. The San Francisco-based fund made its first investment in bitcoin in early 2014 and went on to invest large sums in crypto. About two-thirds of its overall investment was used to buy bitcoin, said people close to the fund. Founders Fund sold out of the vast majority of its entire cryptocurrency portfolio by the end of March 2022 — before the digital assets market became swept up in a crisis in May last year, said one of the people close to the fund. The fund currently has no significant exposure to cryptocurrencies, the people said. The winding down of its crypto bet has not previously been reported. Founders Fund declined to comment. Thiel, a big backer of Republican candidates and a supporter of former US president Donald Trump, was one of the e …

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