The first and only life insurer entirely denominated in a cryptocurrency launched this week in Bermuda thanks to roughly $19 million in funding from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Google-Backed Gradient Ventures.
Called “Meanwhile,” the firm is licensed and regulated as a life insurance company by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, a leading global insurance regulator, and is working to hire to its initial team and launch its first product: Bitcoin (BTC)-denominated whole life insurance.
“As one of the few innovations in money in the last century, Bitcoin is on track to become a global store of value and functional currency,” said Zac Townsend, Co-Founder and CEO of Meanwhile, who has been building projects at the intersection of tech, finance, and public policy for more than a decade. “When you combine that with artificial intelligence, we see the potential to build a full-stack life insurance company with the aim to reach over a billion people globally. To start, 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.”
By harnessing the power of AI and operating entirely in digital assets, Meanwhile claims to bring a frictionless offering to one of the oldest financial products in the world, life insurance. It said in a statement that traditional insurance companies engage in tedious and time-consuming manual processes and reviews, with a typical policy taking weeks to be underwritten. Utilizing AI-powered underwriting, claims, and operations, Max Gasner, CTO and co-founder, and this team are building a highly efficient end-to-end insurance system reducing manual labor and promoting transparency.
“Meanwhile is sitting at the confluence of the AI and digital assets transformation,” said Anna Patterson, Managing Partner at Gradient Ventures. “The team has an opportunity to change how consumers use digital money and set a new standard for tech-enabled life insurance providers. We’re excited to support Zac and Max on their mission.”
The roughly $19 million in financing is across two seed rounds, the first co-led by OpenAI’s (creator of ChatGPT) Altman and Lachy Groom, previous head of Stripe issuing. Gradient Ventures (Google) was in the top spot during the second round.
Other notable backers in insurance and crypto venture capital include Muoro Capital (Santander), MS&AD Insurance Group’s venture arm, and Hudson Structured Capital Management, a leading re/insurance investor. Additional angel investors include Parker Conrad, Dylan Field, Nick Schrock, 6th Man Ventures, Sam Blond of Founders Fund, Lauren Kolodny of Acrew, and Marc Bhavaga of General Catalyst, among others.
“The insurance sector is often regarded as inefficient and adverse to new technologies, and frankly, that is true in many cases,” said Jon Soberg, Managing Partner of MS&AD Ventures. “Meanwhile flips this perception on its head, uniting both blockchain and AI to create a truly one-of-a-kind, dynamic life insurance program. We are delighted to participate in this funding round and look forward to seeing the unique financial products Meanwhile will unveil.”
Key benefits of Meanwhile life insurance policies—as provided by the company—include:
- A thoughtful approach to generational wealth transfer. Pass wealth to the next generation without passing on a huge tax burden by locking in today’s tax basis.
- A policy with guaranteed value. With guaranteed growth, a guaranteed death benefit, and guaranteed surrender value, Meanwhile can be part of a diversified portfolio of investments for long-term planning and succession.
- Access the value of the policy whenever needed. Tap into the policy’s liquidity with tax-free, low-interest loans and tax-free partial withdrawals.
Following its initial launch, Meanwhile plans to build a full suite of cryptocurrency-denominated financial products, such as a BTC-denominated private credit fund and BTC-denominated term life insurance and accidental death coverage.
The company’s licensed and regulated Bermuda subsidiary is entirely denominated in BTC, accepting all premiums and paying out all claims in BTC.
For more information, visit Meanwhile’s website at meanwhile.bm.