Halle Tecco and Jeff Hammerbacher have a knack for spotting early technology trends, ranging from Facebook to digital health.
In 2013, they made one of their best bets yet by backing a then little-known cryptocurrency called bitcoin. Specifically, Tecco told CNBC they made an angel investment in the Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust, a vehicle for accredited investors to invest in cryptocurrency.
CNBC has learned that they’ve donated the investment to cancer research, specifically to the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center in South Carolina.
Tecco confirmed to CNBC, “We pretty much forgot about it for a few years (the bitcoin investment) and then this year, it got interesting,” she explained. She declined to say exactly how much the investment was worth, as the hospital will have to decide whether to convert the investment into bitcoin and ultimately into dollars, but the value is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars at today’s price.
Tecco said the couple initially invested in the virtual currency “mostly out of curiosity and to diversify our investments.”
Around the time they made their investment, Bitcoin was selling for around $800, Tecco said.
Bitcoin soared to more than $17,000 last week, after being worth less than $1,000 at the start of the year. It was once the realm of technologists, like Tecco and Hammerbacher, but is now gaining legitimacy on Wall Street.
Hammerbacher is an early Facebook data scientist who now runs a lab at Mount Sinai, and his wife Tecco is the co-founder of digital health investment firm Rock Health. Together, they run an angel fund called Techammer.
The pair hope that speaking publicly about their bitcoin philanthropy will inspire others to do the same.
“The investor community that as benefited from the bitcoin craze should use this foresight (and luck!) to help others,” she told CNBC via text. “We hope we are just the first.”