Led by venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners with major participation from Baillie Gifford & Co, wallet provider and exchange Blockchain.com raised new funding that values the company at about $14 billion, more than doubling its worth in a sign that cryptocurrency firms continue to attract capital and investments, regardless of the turbulent venture capital markets, and macroeconomic- and geopolitical uncertainties.
The financing round rockets Blockchain.com into the ranks of the most valuable crypto companies, Bloomberg News reported.
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An early pioneer of key infrastructure for the Bitcoin community
Founded in 2011, Blockchain.com began its journey as a blockchain explorer servicing the Bitcoin blockchain and as an early pioneer of key infrastructure for the Bitcoin community. The Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain explorer also provides an API that allows companies to build on Bitcoin. Later the company also provided the most popular and widely used crypto wallet.
Added to the above products and services, Blockchain.com also facilitates trading through its website and app, as well as allowing users to buy and store digital tokens. Blockchain.com, led by Chief Executive Officer Peter Smith, closed a funding round in March 2021 that raised $300 million at a $5.2 billion valuation in a round that included Lightspeed and VY Capital.
The U.K.-based company’s single largest investment as of April 2021, was from Edinburgh-based Baillie Gifford, which put $100 million into Blockchain.com. At press time, the amount of funding included in this round has not been disclosed.
How long can Blockchain.com stay in the U.K?
Blockchain.com may be facing regulatory hardships in the U.K. Last year, blockchain.com said it was moving its U.S. headquarters from New York to Miami. The company is leasing a 22,000-square-foot (2,044-square-meter) office in Miami’s Wynwood arts district, and will eventually employ about 300 people in the building.
This week, Blockchain.com added its name to the list of companies withdrawing from the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) temporary register for crypto-asset licensing. The UK’s FCA released a notice in 2019, condemning all crypto businesses to comply with their AML/CFT rules by 9 January 2021 and acquire their licenses.
However, by December 2020, most companies were not ready to meet the deadline, so the FCA established a Temporary Registration Regime (TRR) to allow crypto-asset firms that have already applied for licenses to continue trading. They also extended the final deadline for compliance to 1 April 2022.
As the extended deadline approached and the pressure from the lawmakers increased, the FCA announced another extension on the TRR on March 30th, three days before the deadline.
NFT trading is next
This extension was only applied to 12 firms — including Revolut, Copper, and Blockchain.com’s crypto wallet — that were obtaining their licenses. However, Blockchain.com withdrew its application on Mar. 29th, choosing to operate in Europe via a Lithuanian registration instead. At the moment of writing, it’s unclear whether Blockchain.com will be able to, or whether it wants to, operate out of the U.K.
The company has 37 million verified users with 82 million wallets created, and more than $1 trillion transacted, according to its website.
Not unlike its competitor Coinbase, Blockchain.com is planning to implement NFT trading and ditto hosting enabling users to trade NFTs using the company’s native wallet. Users interested in NFT trading on blockchain.com may sign up on a waiting list until the NFT service is launched.
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