Global cryptocurrency platform Liquid.com announced the first close of an ongoing Series C funding that puts the company valuation at over US$1 billion. Founded in 2014, Liquid has achieved unicorn status in less than five years. The valuation establishes Liquid as one of only two tech unicorns in Japan's startup space.
This latest round of funding is led by investment firm IDG Capital, with participation from the world's largest maker of cryptocurrency mining rigs, Bitmain Technologies. IDG Capital is a leading investment firm with over US$20 billion in AUM, focused on developing extraordinary companies through expertise in private equity and venture capital and real estate.
Bitmain Co-founder Jihan Wu said:
“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. This is a very important and unique moat amid global competition.”
Liquid is a unified, globally-sourced trading platform that bridges the world of fiat and crypto, on its way to attain a full banking licence at the end of the year. Having done more than USD50 billion in transactions on its exchanges over the past 12 months (as of July 2018), the company believes to be the bridge to the future world of finance.
Liquid CEO Mike Kayamori said:
“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. 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's investment in Liquid marks an addition to the investment firm's current portfolio of crypto investments, which include Coinbase, Ripple, Bitmain and Kakao's crypto unit. This deal marks the latest investment for Bitmain this year into a regulated digital asset trading platform, following their investment into ErisX, another derivatives and digital asset trading platform aiming to be a licensed Commodity Futures Trading Commission-regulated futures market and clearinghouse.
General Partner of IDG Capital Young Guo said:
“IDG has been actively investing in the global crypto space since 2012, identifying some key players early. 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.”
Liquid has previously raised more than US$20 million from venture funding, which includes leading Japanese investment firms JAFCO, SBI, B Dash Ventures, Mistletoe, and ULS Group. In 2017, Liquid raised more than US$100m in a pre-discounted ICO raise, which was the first regulated ICO to be done in Japan.
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.