A new investment fund led by two dynamic and ambitious alumni is set to shake up the cryptocurrency scene. Andrea Bonaceto teamed up with Nassim Olive (both MSc Finance 2014) to launch Eterna Capital, which they describe as ‘poised to play a key role in shaping the future of blockchain technology’.

Eterna Capital’s objective is to provide early stage funding to blockchain projects with a social impact perspective. It will facilitate financial investors to support socially responsible blockchain projects. Here the young entrepreneurs discuss why they think blockchain is the future of business and why they want to be at the forefront of this emerging sector.

Why is blockchain the future of business?

By definition, blockchain is a list of blocks, or records, which are linked together and secured using cryptographic techniques. Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared, and continually reconciled, database. However this database isn’t stored in any single location, meaning the records are truly public and easily verifiable. There are numerous applications in the industry for this technology, from supply chain to data management, from sharing economies to financial services and environmental friendly projects. Blockchain has the ability to remove the ‘middleman’ when not necessary, creating greater transparency and sustainability in business. We believe that social impact-related projects will receive wider and faster adoption, meaning greater returns for investors aligned with these positive values.

Why will blockchain be so disruptive to industry and business?

Blockchain technology has the ability to disrupt most industries around the globe in a similar way to how the Internet changed our lives a few decades ago. We are seeing world-wide companies across all industries introducing blockchain related work-streams and forums. Every sector is impacted, and institutions are learning how to integrate the technology in their day-to-day systems in the near future.

In the financial services industry blockchain helps tackle many challenges such as managing data, providing solutions and value, client servicing, significantly reducing costs, improving real-time data quality and reporting.

How did Eterna come about?

Nassim Olive was working at a leading London-based investment firm with colleagues Asim Ahmad and Mattia Mrvosevic when they realised they shared the same passion for blockchain technology and investing. We met to discuss possible ideas and discuss the market landscape. It was clear from our skillset and passion for investing that asset management was where we could add value.  So we decided to provide a solution for institutional money to enter the space and gain access to the best blockchain projects.

What challenges have you faced? And how have you over-come these? 

The major challenge has been to find a strong legal structure that will be robust in an evolving regulatory landscape. After months of research, we finally found a regulated legal structure that would work for us and our investors.

Another challenge for us moving forward is to ensure we deliver on our promise to investors by giving them access to the best projects in the market.  We have built a strong network in the industry and Eterna Capital already has a strong market presence which will help achieve this.

What type of companies will you be investing in? 

Our philosophy is inspired by the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals as we are aiming to support projects that could, but are not limited to, build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation, foster innovation, improve healthcare services efficiency, leverage renewable energies to promote sustainable cities.

While we believe that most of the disruption that comes with the blockchain technology should have a positive impact on society, we have framed our investment universe around four pillars:

  1. Disintermediation
  2. Blockchain scalability
  3. Artificial intelligence
  4. Sustainability

We have developed a due diligence framework to help assess and select the best projects as we think it is critical to be very selective. For example our first investment, Origin Protocol aims to empower developers and businesses to build decentralised marketplaces on the blockchain, removing the ‘middleman’ and giving back to individuals the power to leverage their peer-to-peer relationships.

Andrea and Nassim met while studying for their MSc Finance at the Business School. How did your time at Imperial help launch Eterna?

As part of the MSc Finance programme, we attended a Venture Capital elective, a key element which drew us back to technology a couple of years later. The Imperial community has been very supportive during the set-up phase of Eterna Capital, offering advice as well a working space at the Imperial College Incubator. We look forward to continue working alongside Imperial, helping to merge investment and educational ideas to be at the forefront of innovation.