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Ex Binance Leaders Set a $100M Fund to Boost Crypto Adoption in Emerging Markets

Old Fashion Research (OFR) was founded in late 2021 by managing partners Ling Zhang, formerly the vice president of M&A and investments at Binance, and Wayne Fu. Fu was previously the head of corporate development at the crypto exchange.

According to Zhang, the fund’s focus would be on the metaverse and increasing crypto acceptance in emerging markets like Latin America and Africa.

“We want to collaborate with builders long-term,” Zhang added. “We are primarily concerned with the Southern Hemisphere. We’ll target all emerging markets, but our purpose and vision are to accelerate adoption in those markets.”

Zhang was in charge of various acquisitions and strategic investments at Binance, including FTX, Multicoin Capital, and CertiK.

Limited partners, traditional VC firms, family offices, and angel investors from inside and outside the crypto industry contributed to the funding, with global gaming platform WEMIX driving the charge, said Zhang.

More About OFR Project

The project has been operating in stealth mode. It has funded over 50 blockchain projects, including blockchain analytics platform Nansen, trading platform WOO Network, move-to-earn NFT game Genopets, and Africa’s largest gaming community, Metaverse Magna.

“We are big believers in the metaverse, not just in user engagement but also in terms of assets,” Zhang added. “We believe that web3 will be the first step in revolutionizing [our] own identities and asset management,” says the company.

OFR’s venture arm will be supported by partner Jiang Xin, who led Binance Labs’ and Launchpad’s major investment deals such as Axie Infinity, Moonbeam, Alpha Finance, and others. Wei Zhou, the former CFO of Binance, will serve as a strategic adviser and investor. Its venture arm will be supported by partner Jiang Xin, who led Binance Labs’ and Launchpad’s major investment deals, such as Axie Infinity.

“Since the beginning of the year, market circumstances have cooled a bit, and we believe it is more of an opportunity than a challenge for OFR,” Xin said. “Because [the fund] is fresh, we can identify lower and more fair prices after a market collapse, and many bubbles will pop.”

Growing Interest in Crypto Projects

After seeing the potential of blockchain technology and the crypto ecosystem, Zhang said she had witnessed a growing interest from funds entering the crypto field or new funds opening to invest in crypto. Read More

“Many venture capitalists are looking for methods to invest in cryptocurrency companies,” Zhang said. “Crypto is a revolution and a disruption of the capital plate in and of itself. In a top-down approach, it’s no longer centralized.”

Andreessen Horowitz announced its fourth crypto-focused fund for $4.5 billion earlier. The fund, which is more than twice the size of its previous fund ($2.2 billion), would devote one-third of its mega-fund exclusively to seed deals. Read More

In recent weeks, several mega-funds have been formed in the crypto space, demonstrating that venture capitalists are taking advantage of the decline and keep on investing in the space even though markets are down.

Zhang agreed, noting that market downturns clarify which bets to make for investors wishing to put cash into the industry.

“This is the greatest time for us to discover the long-term believers in the crypto industry and make investments and incubate more startups,” Zhang explained.