Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund invests $70M in election betting platform

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Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm, Founders Fund, and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin have spearheaded a $70 million fundraising effort for Polymarket, a platform enabling betting on political events.

According to Bloomberg, Polymarket successfully raised $70 million across two funding rounds as betting on the 2024 U.S. presidential elections gains momentum. The latest Series B Polymarket funding round was spearheaded by Founders Fund, raising $45 million.

Despite bans proposed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on political contest betting, the crypto-based prediction market continues to thrive. In response to the proposed ban, a Partner at Founders Fund, Joey Krug said:

A lot of the reason why certain people don’t like prediction markets in the US kind of dates back to pretty puritanical thinking about betting. In the short- to mid-term it’s good for Polymarket because they are targeting non-US markets. In the long run, it will be good if Americans can participate in this market too.

According to Krug, the investment by Founders Fund signifies its first venture into event-betting contracts.

Polymarket was fined by the CFTC in the past and agreed to reduce its services in the United States as part of a settlement. Since then, the platform has appointed the former CFTC head J. Christopher Giancarlo as chairman of the platform’s advisory board, in an attempt to mend its relationship with the regulators.

Polymarket has seen significant betting volume, particularly as the U.S. presidential elections draws nearer. Known for facilitating bets on many events, the platform allows users to purchase shares with Circle USD (USDC), without requiring custody of customer funds. 

Led by 25-year-old founder Shayne Coplan, Polymarket has witnessed a surge in electoral betting, resulting in over $170 million in wagers being placed on the upcoming U.S. elections — according to the platform’s website.

When we think about the US market as well as investing, researching into it, we know that is likely not something that will pay dividends immediately. Ultimately we have the deep conviction that markets on all the things that people are wondering about and have opinions on will exist.

Despite the successful recent funding rounds and the fact that the platform is not currently generating revenue, regulatory setbacks have resulted in diminishing Polymarket’s current valuation — previously put at around $1 billion.