Cryptocurrency trading portal Liquid has announced the first close of an ongoing Series C funding, which reportedly brings the company valuation at over $1 billion.
Liquid was launched by Japanese FinTech firm Quoine in 2018 to provide trading, exchange, and next generation financial services powered by blockchain technology. Regulated by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), the platform offers trading services for major cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum against fiat currency pairs in JPY, USD, SGD and AUD, and Euro.
The company previously raised more than $20 million from venture funding, which includes major Japanese investment firms JAFCO, SBI, B Dash Ventures, Mistletoe, and ULS Group. In 2017, it raised more than $100 million in a pre-discounted initial coin offering (ICO) raise, which was the first regulated ICO to be done in Japan.
The first close of Liquid’s Series C funding round was led by investment firm IDG Capital, with participation from Chinese crypto mining giant Bitmain. While the amount raised has not been disclosed, Liquid said it puts the company valuation at over $1 billion, making it one of only two tech unicorns in Japan’s startup space.
Liquid said that proceeds from the ongoing Series C funding will be used to fuel global expansion, product development of the core trading exchange business and entering into the security token market.
“As we enter into a new age of digital disruption in financial services, consumers are increasingly placing a higher value on digital assets and technologies they can trust and use with greater ease,” said Liquid CEO Mike Kayamori. “Our vision is to make financial services accessible to all, which means bringing more people into the digital asset space so that anyone can be a part of it. This first round of Series C funding from our two highly respected investors, IDG Capital and Bitmain, puts us in an incredibly strong position to make a global impact in 2019.”
IDG Capital’s investment in Liquid marks an addition to its current portfolio of crypto investments, which include Coinbase, Ripple, Bitmain and Kakao’s crypto unit.
“IDG has been actively investing in the global crypto space since 2012, identifying some key players early,” said Young Guo, General Partner of IDG Capital. “We came to realize that Tokyo has emerged as a top destination for crypto innovation and it is our honor to back such visionary pioneers as Liquid Co-founders Mike Kayamori and Mario Gomez Lozada to carry out this innovation.”
Bitmain’s investment in Liquid follows its investment into ErisX, another derivatives and digital asset trading platform aiming to be a licensed Commodity Futures Trading Commission-regulated futures market and clearinghouse.
“Japan is one of the leading nations in putting crypto industry under proper regulations, and Liquid Group has proven itself to be the exemplary player within such compliant rules,” said Bitmain Co-founder Jihan Wu. “This is a very important and unique moat amid global competition.”
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