At the dawn of the year 2013, Peter Briger was heli-skiing in the Canadian Rockies together with other top finance guys and investors, among them Wences Casares. Casares is an Argentinean serial entrepreneur and a board member of PayPal and also the Chief Executive Officer of Xapo. He is a devoted advocate of cryptocurrencies especially Bitcoin. Caseres was out to convince Peter Briger that Bitcoin would be the new technology that would completely change the way people transfer money.
At the time Bitcoin was an emerging technology and was used as the primary currency in the infamous Silk Road online black market. Nevertheless, Casares believed that Bitcoin had more to it than it was being put to use. He highlighted to Peter Briger and other New York financialists that Bitcoin was actually a network that could be used to move money from any corner of the world by the click of a button.
This was music to the ears of Briger and the other banking professionals since; their business involved making millions of money transfers between financial institutions in different countries.
Entry into Bitcoin
Peter Briger was intrigued by Casare’s Bitcoin pitch, recognizing that there existed a huge gap in the process of international money transfer. Wences was on the same page with Briger and he said he was deeply disappointed that transferring money between different nations took so long.
According to him, he envisioned Bitcoin as a platform that would operate in a similar way as Skype, but in this case, it would be exchanging money. Briger is an expert investor in distressed companies and his experience in identifying broken systems convinced him that the current system of transferring money was broken. Briger has gained experience in the world of finance for many years ever since he graduated from Princeton University.
As the head of Fortress credit and real estate business he hence put the foot on the pedal and began looking for ways to get Fortress look into the cryptocurrencies and identify investment opportunities. He proceeded to open a Mt. Gox account and put $100,000 of his money into Bitcoin.
Briger picked his former Goldman Sachs colleague, Dan Morehead to spearhead a team at Fortress that would be fully dedicated to addressing Bitcoin viability. Briger hoped to get other big investors jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon. He set up a meeting with Wells Fargo, one of United States biggest bank and pitched them the whole Bitcoin mechanism. This raised the prospects of Bitcoin becoming a mainstream system and also attracted Wall Street attention.
More about Peter Briger
Briger is the Co-Chairman of the board of directors at Fortress Investment Group. He is a principal of Fortress and also heads Fortress’s Credit and Real Estate business. Peter also worked at Goldman Sachs for fifteen years before switching to Fortress. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A from Princeton University. According to Forbes, Briger is among the top four hundred billionaires with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion.
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