by Joseph Young
Augur co-founder Joey Krug has been accepted to the Thiel Foundation’s 2016 class of Thiel Fellows.
The Thiel Fellowship, which was established in 2011 by billionaire German-American entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, is a program which grants entrepreneurs $100,000 USD over 2 years, allowing them to focus on the development of their companies and products instead of attending college or university.
Thiel established his Foundation with the belief that individuals can become more successful when pursuing their objectives in a more diverse environment, rather than being limited to university or college educations.
“We launched the fellowship in 2011 to test a simple thesis: college isn’t right for everyone—especially for young people who want to create new things,” said Blake Masters, President of the Thiel Foundation. “This has been proven true—by the successes of our past fellows, by the new applications we get every year, and by the growing numbers of young people who are creating their own career paths outside of college, with or without a fellowship from us.”
Thiel Fellow Vitalik Buterin was funded through the same program in 2014, enabling him to focus on the development of Ethereum. Joey Krug is now the second Thiel Fellow to accept the grant in order to focus on the development of a blockchain venture.
Augur is a decentralized prediction market platform built on the Ethereum blockchain which allows users to be rewarded based on accurate prediction of certain events. The platform enables users to predict the outcome of any real-world events, including recent political affairs and sport events.
One key different characteristic of the Augur prediction market platform which differentiates it from existing applications is its decentralized network of markets and payments. Based on Ethereum, Augur has no central servers or administrators and thus, cannot be shut down by a central authority. More importantly, because it is decentralized, it possesses an unprecedented level of security, which makes it much more difficult for anyone to penetrate the network.
The Thiel Foundation will assist blockchain-focused entrepreneurs and companies like Joey Krug and Augur by connecting them to other Thiel Fellows and advisers of the foundations.
By opening various opportunities for entrepreneurs, it will allow many cryptocurrency startups to find their way through industry and build their specific clientele through the help of mentors and financial assistance from the foundation.
“In the past few years we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way young people approach their potential,” said Jack Abraham, Executive Director of the Thiel Fellowship. “Many are applying to the program with one or two companies already under their belts — they’ve become successful founders before they can even buy a beer. Our message may have seemed odd four or five years ago — some found it blasphemous to question how well American higher education was working, and to suggest entrepreneurship as an alternative path — but today even the colleges are waking up; top schools are creating their own incubators, crafting more flexible stop-out policies, and even raising venture capital funds. Young people now have more options than ever.”
Support from organizations like the Thiel Foundation will pave a positive pathway for blockchain and bitcoin startups that are having difficulty raising capital to maintain their businesses. The help that foundations like these can offer to young blockchain-focused entrepreneurs will allow the industry to continue to grow at an explosive pace.