SkyBridge, Al Maskari Holding Partner With Blockchain Firm Casper Labs

Casper, which provides enterprise-grade blockchain services, also recently announced a tie-up with Google Cloud.

AccessTimeIconMar 2, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:09 a.m. UTC

SkyBridge Capital, the Anthony Scaramucci-led global investment firm, and the Al Maskari family's holding company said they will provide strategic support – including business development, investor relations and marketing services – to Casper Labs, a blockchain software company focused on enterprise and government.

SkyBridge Capital, which had ties to now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, is acquiring warrants to become a shareholder in Casper Labs, whose native CSPR token has dropped to to 4 cents from May 2021's all-time high of $1.33.

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  • “Casper is pretty unique, because they’re providing an enterprise software decentralization model,” Scaramucci told CoinDesk in an interview. “We think that it’s not just for financial services, but could be used across the whole spectrum, including cloud computing.”

    Casper Labs is adding big-name partners during a particularly harsh crypto winter, which saw venture capital and other investments in the industry drop 91% year on year in January, though the backing of infrastructure projects remained relatively strong.

    Enterprise-grade technology

    Casper Labs built a layer 1 blockchain that’s meant to scale to meet the operational needs of businesses and governments, providing transaction transparency that can help boost revenue at a relatively low cost.

    “Every design decision we’ve made is for enterprise and government usage,” co-founder and CEO Mrinal Manohar told CoinDesk. “If you think about most blockchains, the way they’ve been built is to almost create a shadow economy in the sense that if an enterprise or a government wanted to use that technology, it would mandate almost a full teardown of their existing tech infrastructure.”

    Manohar said Casper's blockchain can work with a company's existing tech stack. He also noted that Casper Labs also offers upgradeable smart contracts, which gives clients the ability to iron out bugs and make changes for the future.

    Casper Labs is no stranger to headline-grabbing partnerships and is fresh off of an announcement with Google Cloud. The new partnerships bring useful connections, with Manohar noting that Scaramucci “has one of the most impressive Rolodexs out there.” The Al Maskari family has a deep network of contacts in the United Arab Emirates, a region that turned bullish on blockchain technology fairly early.

    “If we get this right, people will start adapting this protocol – it will become an industry standard,” said Scaramucci.

    Building during crypto winter

    SkyBridge is still making investments in crypto technologies despite taking a hit from a market slump and the FTX collapse. The crypto exchange took a 30% equity stake in SkyBridge months before FTX’s liquidity problem was unveiled in a CoinDesk report and the exchange filed for bankruptcy. Scaramucci told CNBC earlier this year that SkyBridge can buy back FTX’s stake this year.

    SkyBridge is starting to show signs of recovery, Scaramucci told CoinDesk, noting that the Opportunity Zone REIT fund has climbed more than 38% this year, and the core Multi-Adviser Hedge Fund Portfolio product has rallied 6%.

    “We made a significant pivot in 2020. There’s some irony there because we looked like absolute geniuses at the end of 2021. And that was being lauded by clients, thanking us for pulling them into the future,” said Scaramucci. “And then, of course, by the end of 2022 we were being pilloried by the very same clients saying to us, ‘Oh my God, you guys don’t know what you’re doing.’”

    “Neither of those things are true. We're not the geniuses that we looked like in 2021, and we're not the dunces that we looked like at the end of 2022. I think it's somewhere in the middle.”

    UPDATE (March 2, 2023 13:46 UTC): Adds clarifying details to the seventh paragraph that Casper's blockchain works with a company's existing tech stack.

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    Brandy Betz

    Brandy covered crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.