Peter Thiel’s

venture-capital firm is backing a startup that aims to bring Wall Street electronic-trading expertise to the bitcoin market—a bet that cryptocurrencies will continue to gain mainstream popularity. Mr. Thiel’s firm, Founders Fund, is among the investors in the early-stage startup, called Tagomi Systems Inc., people familiar with the situation said.

Tagomi expects to be the bitcoin version of a broker-dealer, executing orders to buy or sell cryptocurrencies on behalf of wealthy individuals and family offices, according to people with knowledge of the firm’s plans. Its co-founders include

Greg Tusar,

the former head of electronic trading at

Goldman Sachs Group

these people said.

Mr. Thiel, an outspoken libertarian, has said bitcoin could become the digital equivalent of gold and is a potentially useful hedge against global chaos. The Tagomi investment is the latest foray into digital currencies by San Francisco-based Founders Fund.

Mr. Tusar, a former Goldman partner, is a respected figure in the electronic-trading business. He worked at the bank from 2000 to 2013, then left to join high-speed trader KCG Holdings Inc., where he spent the next four years.

He left KCG in July after it was acquired by rival

Virtu Financial
Inc. There is no guarantee that Tagomi will succeed, despite Founders’ involvement in the venture. Bitcoin has lost around 50% of its value since December, cooling investor enthusiasm for digital currencies. Read more from…

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