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Reddit to grant users shares after $50m investment

The popular social news website Reddit has announced that it has raised $50 million (£30.8 million) in funding and plans to give back 10 per cent equity to the online community itself.

Reddit, which refers to itself as the front page of the Internet, confirmed the news in a blog post, adding that the venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital took part in the investment.

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The series B funding was led by Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, a firm that played a large role in launching Reddit back in 2005. Other prominent investors included Jared Leto, Jessica Livingston, Calvin Broadus Jr. (better known as Snoop Dogg) and Reddit CEO Yishan Wong.

Wong himself explained that the site's decision to give 10 per cent of its shares back to the community would take some time to implement.

"We're going to need to figure out a bunch of details to make it work, but we're hopeful," he said.

The CEO suggested that website was contemplating "creating a cryptocurrency and making it exchangeable (backed) by those shares of Reddit, and then distributing the currency to the community. The investors have explicitly agreed to this in their investment terms."

Wong did also stress that the plan could ultimately fail, but that if successful would fulfil a long held goal of allowing the community to own a portion of the site.

In the meantime, the funding has been earmarked to bolster the site's staff numbers, currently around 60, to enhance Reddit's moderation and community tools and expand its mobile offerings.

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The investment may also ease some pressure on the site's long term finances. Despite attracting roughly 133 million users each month, Reddit has largely operated at a loss since it launched nine years ago.