- Hervé Larren, a blockchain advocate, started his crypto journey by transferring Bitcoin to Venezuela during an economic collapse in 2013.
- Transitioning from LVMH, Larren co-founded a large-scale crypto mining operation, worked with Grayscale, became an advisor to ApeCoin, and placed the first million-dollar bid on a nonfungible token.
In the realm of blockchain and cryptocurrency, few stories are as compelling as Hervé Larren’s journey from luxury brands to ‘blue-chip’ NFTs. Larren’s first foray into the crypto universe was not born out of curiosity, but necessity. Amid Venezuela’s hyperinflation crisis in 2013, Larren found a way to send money to his mother in Caracas, marking his first Bitcoin transaction.
The Initiation into Cryptocurrency
Larren, then engrossed in work with luxury goods giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in New York, intended to physically carry cash to his mother in Venezuela. Upon the advice of a friend, he instead chose to transfer Bitcoin.
Following his immersion into the world of digital assets, Larren diversified his career from the luxury goods sector to cryptocurrency. He co-founded a large-scale crypto mining operation, contributed to Grayscale’s effort to introduce cryptocurrency to traditional investors, and played a pivotal role in advising ApeCoin. He also made headlines as the first person to bid a million dollars for a nonfungible token.
The Blockchain Maven
The tale of Larren’s ascent in the blockchain sphere cannot be told without recounting his early years in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy suburb of Paris. As head of a high school student council, Larren regularly interacted with Nicolas Sarkozy, who would later become France’s president. After finishing undergraduate business studies at Montreal’s Concordia University, Larren joined Moët Hennessy’s New York office, where he focused on brand development.
Larren’s career trajectory veered towards technology during his tenure with Peak Ventures. The firm’s involvement in tech companies like Twitter provided Larren his initial exposure to the technology sector, a stark contrast to the traditional luxury goods industry he was accustomed to.
Into the New Era
Larren wasted no time in integrating Bitcoin into an e-commerce business he was part of. This enterprise aimed to assist charities in fundraising by collaborating with celebrities. This was followed by the formation of Global Crypto Ventures in 2015, which developed into a substantial operation in Las Vegas and Texas, primarily using Bitmain Antminer S9 miners.
Through an interaction with Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert at the 2017 World Technology Forum, Larren explored the potential of the Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund. This fund, pending approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission, comprised a portfolio of cryptocurrencies, including Ether, MATIC, ADA, SOL, and Bitcoin. Larren’s mining firm was a viable source for the fund to acquire digital assets.
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Braving the Challenges
The task of working with the SEC was an uphill battle. Although the company was confident about acquiring approval, there was much uncertainty, given that no similar investment trust had previously been approved. Despite the hurdles, the GDLC got the green light, expanding the possible pool of crypto investors.
BlackRock, the financial industry titan, recognized this opportunity and applied to launch a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund in the United States. Larren envisages BlackRock’s venture would lead to Bitcoin’s price escalation, as it’s a significant stride towards Bitcoin’s institutional adoption.
Foray into NFTs
Larren’s passion for NFTs was fueled by his engagement with the metaverse through Decentraland’s initial coin offering in 2017. His first NFT purchase was his avatar’s name in the metaverse. This was followed by his acquisition of metaverse land, where he established the Airvey art gallery. His relationship with NFTs deepened when he placed a seven-figure bid on Beeple’s “Everydays” piece at Christie’s auction.
Larren’s connection to the luxury world resurfaced when Gucci and TAG Heuer began accepting ApeCoin as payment. He helped Chanel’s team understand various aspects of Web3.
Today, Larren sees potential ‘blue-chip’ NFTs, or those with mass appeal as recognizable status symbols, in metaverse real estate and Profile Picture (PFP) NFTs. He emphasizes that consumer NFTs have value in fostering a sense of exclusive community. Larren looks towards a future where the metaverse, built on the foundations of Bitcoin and NFTs, will create a new era where digital life surpasses physical existence.
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