Venture capitalists, such as Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, which invested US$3 million in BitPay, do not purchase bitcoins themselves, but instead fund bitcoin infrastructure that provides payment systems to merchants, exchanges, wallet services, etc.[151] In 2012, an incubator for bitcoin-focused start-ups was founded by Adam Draper, with financing help from his father, venture capitalist Tim Draper, one of the largest bitcoin holders after winning an auction of 30,000 bitcoins,[152] at the time called "mystery buyer".[153] The company's goal is to fund 100 bitcoin businesses within 2–3 years with $10,000 to $20,000 for a 6% stake.[152] Investors also invest in bitcoin mining.[154] According to a 2015 study by Paolo Tasca, bitcoin startups raised almost $1 billion in three years (Q1 2012 – Q1 2015).[155]

In January 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Nakamoto mined the first block of the chain, known as the genesis block.[19][20] Embedded in the coinbase of this block was the following text: "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."[10] This note has been interpreted as both a timestamp and a comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.[21]:18