Shakil Khan, an angel investor and advisor to Spotify, just launched Coindesk, a Bitcoin resource and news site, amid a boatload of hype and VC interest in the crypto-currency.
Khan says Coindesk was a project he conceived of about four weeks ago, around when Bitcoin was surging to an all-time high. It’s now trading at around $124.38, or about half as much as it was trading at a few weeks ago.
“I was just sitting there and I literally had five e-mails that day from very seasoned entrepreneurs, asking me — what do you know about Bitcoin?” said Khan, who has invested in the space. He was part of a roughly half-million dollar round in Bitpay, which is trying to make it dead simple for merchants to incorporate Bitcoin as a payments method.
“There’s a lack of transparent information. Where do you go to read what’s right or wrong?” said Khan, who has been a head of special projects for Spotify for five years. He was also briefly a head of special projects for Path too.
No, Khan’s not starting a Bitcoin media business. (That would be a head-scratcher.)
“I have absolutely no desire to be publisher,” he said. “That is not my goal. I am just fascinated by the digital currency space.”
Khan says that existing resources out there like Bitcoin Magazine and other message boards are too technical for a more mainstream audience. While helping put together the deal to sell Summly to Yahoo over the last couple weeks, he got together a team of people and part-time writers to publish news about the Bitcoin ecosystem.
But he adds that building a news site is not just a side project either. “CoinDesk, Bitcoins and digital currencies are way, way more than a hobby for me,” he said.
Khan has personally vetted about 15 deals in the Bitcoin space, and moved forward with just one.
“The early guys who are having the ideas have not necessarily run businesses before. They’re looking at it more from an idealist perspective or vision,” he said, explaining why he didn’t go in on other deals.