The price of bitcoin, which has fallen by about a third from its mid-December high of almost $20,000, got a boost Tuesday after the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a report that said billionaire Peter Thiel had "amassed hundreds of millions of dollar of the volatile cryptocurrency." Following the publication of the report, the price of bitcoin shot up by about 10 percent in a couple of hours.

It is not Thiel directly, but rather, the venture capital firm he cofounded — Founders Fund — that made the investment, according to the WSJ report. The "moonshot bet," as the report referred to the investments, was spread across many of the firm’s recent funds, sources told the publication. They also revealed that one of the funds bought bitcoin in mid-2017, and that was the fund’s first investment.

In the beginning of August, which is more or less mid-year, the price of bitcoin was still below the $3,000 mark. It began a slow (only by the standards of its own meteoric rise later in the year) ascent at the time, finally just edging past $6,000 by the end of October. It was the period from mid-November to mid-December that saw the cryptocurrency scaling new heights almost daily.

However, the price of bitcoin fell to as low as below $12,500 at the end of December, according to the price chart on CoinDesk. And while it regained some value (about $1,000) over the next two days, the big jump came Tuesday, with almost $1,800 being added to its price in about two hours.

Thiel has, in the past, spoken positively about the cryptocurrency. Back in 2014, he was somewhat cautious, saying he would be more bullish on bitcoin when he saw "payment volume of Bitcoin really increase," adding that "the payment system is badly lacking."

Since then, he seems to have modified his view. In October, after his fund had already started investing in bitcoin, Thiel said the cryptocurrency was not needed to make payments, but instead, could be used as something like gold, a reserve form of money. He compared bitcoin mining with mining for gold, calling the former more difficult than the latter, and referred to the fact that only 21 million bitcoin will be created, due to the nature of the cryptocurrency’s code.

The investments by Thiel’s fund, which WSJ said was between 15 and 20 million dollars, would be worth hundreds of millions today, given the appreciation in the price of bitcoin.

Thiel himself is one of the founders of PayPal and his VC fund is also the first investor to put money in Facebook. So his investments, and words, are worth taking seriously as a sign of things to come.