Life insurance company Meanwhile Insurance Bitcoin (Bermuda) said it raised $19 million to develop an artificial-intelligence (AI) aided bitcoin (BTC)-denominated policy as it eyes an economy developing around the largest cryptocurrency.
The Bermuda Monetary Authority-licensed company said it raised the funds across two seed rounds. The first was co-led by Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT developer OpenAI, and former Stripe executive Lachy Groom. The second was led by Gradient Ventures. Meanwhile was previously called Standard Crypto Insurance, and is registered under that name with the BMA, CEO Zac Townsend told CoinDesk.
Meanwhile plans to use the funding to hire a development team for its first product, according to an emailed announcement on Tuesday. Its initial target audience is U.S. citizens with large BTC holdings who are looking to protect their families in a tax-advantaged way, an audience from which Townsend said the firm has “seen a lot of early demand.”
“It makes perfect sense for long-term holders of BTC to invest in life insurance denominated in that asset, and to enable a percentage of their BTC holdings to become active,” Townsend said.
The company plans to use AI to help with underwriting, claims and operations, according to the statement.
Townsend said the volatility typically associated with the bitcoin price isn’t a concern for Meanwhile.
“Market moves that impact the price of BTC do not impact our underwriting or our guarantees because we take premiums and pay out claims in BTC,” he said. “We think hundreds of millions of folks will be onboarding into the bitcoin economy in the coming decades, and we’re building the life insurance company for them.”
While the insurer may be relatively immune to bitcoin fluctuations, policyholders will be shouldering some of the risk because price changes will determine the value of their payouts.
“Today’s price, tomorrow’s price, that doesn’t matter. What matters is BTC being valuable in the long-term future,” Townsend said.