Russian tycoon cashes in on crypto

Russian tycoon cashes in on crypto
By bne IntelliNews August 24, 2021

Russian entrepreneur Said Gutseriyev has made $150mn by selling shares in the crypto currency exchanges Currency.com, Capital.com and Zubr.io.

Gutseriyev, who owns shares in Safmar Financial Investment group and V.Video electronics retailer and is No. 80 on the Russian Forbes list, began to invest in crypto in the summer of 2017, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported.

Since the beginning of 2021, however, Gutseriyev has unloaded his crypto holdings, pocketing an estimated $150mn.

According to Vedomosti, he sold his shares to international crypto exchange FTX and to his partner, Belarusian entrepreneur Viktor Prokopenya.

Gutseriyev's first crypto investment was Capital.com, an artificial intelligence-based trading startup founded by legal entities registered in Belarus, the UK and Cyprus. Back in 2017, Gutseriyev and Prokopenya invested $12.5mn each in the project.

In 2019, the startup was turned into an infrastructure company for the first legitimate crypto currency exchange in the CIS. Again, Gutseriyev and Prokopenya invested in the project in equal shares, a total of $10mn.

The exchange is used for trading tokenised assets pegged to commodities, shares and indices. Capital.com provides quotations for the exchange, which is popular with investors as it facilitates investment in tokens backed by real-world assets.

In 2018, Gutseriyev founded a Gibraltar-registered crypto exchange, Zubr.io, with an initial investment of €4mn.

Back in May 2019, Gutseriyev was quoted as saying by Forbes Russia that he was planning to stay in the crypto industry for a long time. However, his plans apparently changed.

In May 2021, he sold Zubr.io, which signified the start of his exit from the crypto space.

Safmar Financial Investment explained Gutseriyev's exodus from the crypto industry by a suddenly open opportunity to sell the assets at a sizeable premium.

"Projects in which the fund invested several years ago, developed quite rapidly and started to attract attention from major global investors in the segment of blockchain technology and crypto currency," a spokesman for Safmar Financial Investment was quoted as saying by Vedomosti.

Gutseriyev unloaded his crypto holdings at a time when the industry was apparently in better shape than at the time of his investment.

Back in 2017, when Gutseriyev entered the crypto space, bitcoin, the biggest crypto currency, was worth $2,500 while, according to coinmarketcap.com, the total capitalisation of the crypto industry stood at $110bn.

The crypto space hit an all-time high in May 2021, with the total capitalisation at $2.5 trillion and bitcoin's rate hitting $60,000. Although there has been some decline since then, bitcoin is still trading at an impressively high $46,000.

Although the value of Gutseriyev's sale deals was not disclosed, experts say that Vedomosti's estimation of $150mn is likely to be accurate.

Currency.com is estimated to be worth $500mn, Capital.com $100mn, and Zubr.io another $10mn.

Incidentally, following his exit from crypto, Gutseriyev doesn't rule out further investment in the crypto space. According to his spokesman, the industry "remains promising."

Similarly, Prokopenya's fund VP Capital confirmed that it plans to actively invest in crypto-related projects.

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