BLACKSBURG — Block.one has quietly moved into its own building in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center as the blockchain startup continues its meteoric rise from nonexistence to a billion-dollar bank account in two years.

The company has offices around the world, but a spokeswoman called Blacksburg an “important center for this growth” in a written statement to The Roanoke Times, a noteworthy distinction for an aspiring technology hub tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Block.one has had a team in a small office suite in the VTCRC for over a year, but property records show it moved into a 30,000-square-foot stand-alone building earlier this summer.

Simply put: Blacksburg has never hosted a startup with financial backing and national notoriety on this scale.

When the company launched EOS, a cryptocurrency, the so-called initial coin offering brought in a record-breaking $4 billion for Block.one. Today, it’s the fifth largest cryptocurrency with a total coin value trading above $5 billion.

On top of that, Block.one has received an investment from Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley icon who co-founded PayPal and was Facebook’s first major backer. Block.one made that announcement, but did not disclose the amount.

Now, the company’s mission is to use that billion-dollar war chest to position itself as a leader ahead of more mainstream adoption of blockchain software.

The technology is still mostly limited to highly technical circles, but some technologists believe it could become the foundation of the next generation of computers and the internet. Bitcoin was the first to harness the power of blockchain, but the applications are limitless.

Block.one has hosted a series of blockchain hackathons around the world with $1.5 million prizes. It has established EOS VC, a venture capital arm of the organization that has pledged to invest $1 billion in entrepreneurs developing blockchain applications.

Block.one’s CEO and other executives are in Hong Kong, but the Blacksburg outpost is where co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Dan Larimer leads his team of engineers. The Virginia Tech alum has lived in the New River Valley for years and is considered a thought leader on blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Larimer has said he believes the technology, which harnesses computing power from massive networks of users, could be used for everything from currency to maintaining vehicle records. Block.one wants to build tools for developers to make that possible, similar to the way Microsoft’s Windows operating system helped usher in the personal computer generation.

But even Microsoft didn’t have this kind of cash at its disposal when co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen put down roots in the Seattle suburbs.

Much of Block.one’s initial work began in a small, nondescript office suite in Blacksburg’s VTCRC over the past couple years.

The company’s new space nearby was purchased by a separate business entity tied to Block.one, but the sale price was not disclosed in the property records. The buyer is conducting interior renovations, according to the Blacksburg planning and building records.

So far, the office bears no Block.one signage. The Roanoke Times has confirmed the location, but is not publishing the address over security concerns.

It’s unclear how many employees Block.one has in Blacksburg today, but past tenants have estimated the building has room for around 200 workers.

Block.one had 17 job openings in Blacksburg advertised on its website as of press time. The company said in a July press release that it has over 200 employees worldwide and engineering outposts in Hong Kong and California, as well as Virginia.

“The Block.one Blacksburg office houses part of our U.S. engineering team and is home to some of the world’s top blockchain developers,” a Block.one spokeswoman wrote in a statement. “Block.one has been investing in its business and its operations in Virginia with the aim of driving mass adoption of blockchain and the EOSIO blockchain protocol that we publish.”

The move is just the latest way Block.one and Larimer have made a splash around the New River Valley and beyond.

Larimer hasn’t been one to seek out publicity, but he has been named by The New York Times to a list of “people leading the blockchain revolution.”

The company has built an executive team with industry leaders from around the world, including Rob Jesudason, Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s former Chief Financial Officer, and James Mendes, a former managing director at Citi.

In May, the company made a $3 million donation to Virginia Tech in order to expand its blockchain curriculum. When the university hosted its first ever blockchain symposium, Larimer was invited to speak as one of the event’s headliners. He now serves as a Tech guest lecturer and curriculum adviser.

Larimer is also one of several local investors backing the Christiansburg Marketplace redevelopment project near the New River Valley Mall.

Interviewed as Block.one began making national headlines in February, Larimer stressed that he isn’t involved in blockchain development for the money. Rather, he has said it’s because he believes fair and decentralized computer systems can fix all sorts of societal woes.

“I view violence as a shortcut to governance,” Larimer said in February. “So I made it my mission in life to find free market solutions to securing life, liberty, property and justice for all.”

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