Redmond-based venture capital firm Pithia made recent investments in three companies — LifeID, Trusted Key, and DigitalTown — in an effort to help facilitate the use of blockchain technology across the state.
“We want to make Washington a recognized center for blockchain activity,” said Pithia CEO Lawrence Lerner. “We invest in companies from concept stage all the way through the first few years of their lifespan. But we are solely focused on blockchain. We really look at identity, wallets, supply chain, all of those foundational things in a blockchain space.”
While the concept of blockchain can seem complex — it is the permanent, digital keeper of records often associated with bitcoin — its applications can be pretty elementary.
“It’s a basic tool, one of many. Just in the same way that every company uses a web server, they will be using blockchain,” Lerner said. “It may not may be some grand roll-out of technology, but there will always be some fundamental blockchain activities that will be used by every company in the next three to five years.”
That’s why Pithia is investing in everyday products and services, Lerner said. Aside from the three recent investments, the company is also in talks with a health care billing operation. “(It’s) not sexy, but millions of those bills go out every single hour,” he said. A process like that could be improved substantially by implementing blockchain technology.
The more companies that Pithia can invest in, and the more companies that adopt the use of blockchain, the better. “That’s our goal,” Lerner said. “It’s to basically, with these initial investments, prove out the viability of the blockchain ecosystem.”
Pithia is expected to announce further investments in the coming months. “We’re always looking for new deals and new investing partners,” Lerner said.