Life insurer with premiums paid in cryptocurrency

Max Gasner, left, with Meanwhile colleagues Dave Baumgartner, Annie Tay, Zac Townsend, Danny Baer and Jim Cristallo (Photograph supplied)

Bermudian-based Meanwhile, the first and only life insurer with premiums in crypto currency, has launched with approximately $19 million in financing across two seed rounds.

The first was co-led by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI and Lachy Groom, previous head of Stripe Issuing, and with Gradient Ventures in the top spot during the second round.

Other notable participants in the fundraising round include Muoro Capital, MS&AD, and Hudson Structured Capital Management.

Additional angel investors include Parker Conrad, Dylan Field, Nick Schrock, 6th Man Ventures, Sam Blond of Founders Fund, and Marc Bhavaga of General Catalyst, among others.

Meanwhile was formerly named Standard Crypto Insurance Bitcoin (Bermuda) Limited.

Standard Crypto was granted a sandbox license by the Bermuda Monetary Authority in the Innovative Insurers – ILT class.

The renamed company is Meanwhile Insurance Bitcoin (Bermuda) Limited.

The company said the funding allows Meanwhile to garner approval as a licensed and regulated life insurance company by the BMA, as well as hire its initial team and launch its first product — Bitcoin-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 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 said, it brings a frictionless offering to one of the oldest financial products in the world, life insurance.

It said traditional insurance companies engage in tedious and time-consuming manual processes and reviews, with a typical policy taking weeks to be underwritten.

Utilising 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 labour and promoting transparency, it said.

“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.”

Jon Soberg, managing partner of MS&AD Ventures, said: “The insurance sector is often regarded as inefficient and adverse to new technologies, and frankly, that is true in many cases.

“Meanwhile flips this perception on its head, uniting both blockchain and AI to create a truly one-of-a-kind, dynamic life insurance programme. We are delighted to participate in this funding round and look forward to seeing the unique financial products Meanwhile will unveil.”

The company said key benefits of Meanwhile life insurance policies 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 your policy whenever you need. Tap into the policy’s liquidity with tax-free, low-interest loans and tax-free partial withdrawals.

Following its initial launch, Meanwhile said, it plans to build a full suite of crypto currency-denominated financial products, such as a BTC-denominated private credit fund and BTC-denominated term life and accidental death.

Zac Townsend, co-founder and CEO of Meanwhile

Max Gasner, CTO and co-founder of Meanwhile

Anna Patterson, managing partner at Gradient Ventures

Jon Soberg, managing partner of MS&AD Ventures