Monday Fund Day: Ethereum builder ConsenSys leads our crypto-funding roundup with a US$450m whopper
There’s been no shortage of BIG crypto-funding stories this year, and the hits just keep on coming. Ethereum infrastructure firm ConsenSys leads the cash-raking efforts in our bumper roundup this week…
The New York-based Ethereum application and infrastructure builder ConsenSys has closed a Series D US$450 million funding round that values the Joe Lubin-founded company at US$7 billion.
Lubin is also a co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, and ConsenSys, among other things, is the developer of the Ethereum wallet and browser extension MetaMask (now more than 30 million monthly users), as well as Infura, a widely used blockchain infrastructure tool.
The round was led by ParaFi Capital and other existing investors including Third Point and Marshall Wace. And a bunch of new backers included Singapore’s Temasek, the Japanese-based SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Microsoft.
21 Savage and Young Thug both invested in the latest funding round for ConsenSys at a $7 billion valuation pic.twitter.com/rEulMlZNTl
— theweeknd.eth (@LilMoonLambo) March 15, 2022
A handful of celebrity investors also reportedly threw some cash in the hat, including US rappers 21 Savage and Young Thug. What is it with rappers and crypto? Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Doja Cat, Eminem… they’re all into it – though mostly in a non-fungible kind of way.
That initiative was laid to rest earlier this year, however, it’s been revealed that several former Meta (parent company for Facebook and Instagram) staffers who worked on Diem have now raised US$200 million to develop and expand a new blockchain project known as Aptos.
1/ 🌊 As part of our mission of building a L1 for the next billion users, we are thrilled to announce two things:
a) Our new $200M funding round led by a16z…
b) Launch of our devnet! Special invite somewhere below 👇 https://t.co/ApU0j1lZCu
— Mo Shaikh (@moshaikhs) March 15, 2022
The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) with Multicoin Capital, 3 Arrows Capital, Tiger Global, FTX Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and more also contributing.
The former global head of valuation risk at European investment bank Credit Suisse is set on a US$200 million raise for a new crypto hedge fund, according to The Block.
CK Zheng, who had a 17-year career with the global investment bank has reportedly teamed up with another Wall Street type, Yemu Xu, plus an NFT and crypto-native expert – Felix Xu – to launch ZX Squared Capital.
ICYMI: Credit Suisse vet launching $200 million crypto options trading fundhttps://t.co/dr4wa59V4F
— The Block (@TheBlock__) March 11, 2022
Zheng told The Block that the new venture will deploy strategies in crypto options to help deliver better returns with less volatility.
Prominent Ethereum scaling solution Optimism has raised US$150 million in a Series B funding round.
The blockchain startup revealed in a blog post that the funding now gives it a US$1.65 billion valuation and the capital will be used to expand its team.
The round was co-led by the Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Paradigm venture capital firms, which both have digital fingers in a multitude of pies all over the crypto industry.
The future of Ethereum scaling looks bright 🌞https://t.co/0lXhkEO18P
— Crypto-Gucci.eth ᵍᵐ🦇🔊 (@CryptoGucci) March 17, 2022
Optimism is based on Optimistic rollup technology and is one of the leading layer 2 scalers competing for supremacy in a niche but important crypto sector.
Important, as Ethereum is still the layer 1 blockchain ecosystem that has by far the most amount of users and developers, and viable scaling solutions are being sought to ensure it can meet increasing user demand.
• IoTeX, a blockchain platform focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced the launch of a US$100 million “sustainable ecosystem fund”.
The new fund aims to accelerate the growth of what the blockchain has termed MachineFi – a Web3-based “machine economy”, that utilises machine-led resources and intelligence to deliver new, decentralised financial incentives.
The IoTeX Foundation is launching a $100 million ecosystem fund to promote the development of a decentralized machine economy. https://t.co/KBscNCj9ha
— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) March 16, 2022
IoTeX plans to use the fund to back more than 1,000 MachineFi startups.
• Mina Foundation, which develops and runs the “lightweight” Mina Protocol (MINA) blockchain, has raised $US92 million in a token-sale funding round led by FTX Ventures and Three Arrows Capital.
The aim of the fund is to help drive the adoption of Zero Knowledge Proofs, which is cryptographic tech that feeds into the crypto narratives of privacy, decongestion and scaling.
Let’s BUIDL, #MinaCommunity.👷
The Mina Ecosystem has raised $92 Million dollars in a raise led by @FTX_Official and Three Arrows Capital to bolster the growth of developers in the community.
— Mina Protocol 🪶 (@MinaProtocol) March 17, 2022
Other participants in the round included British hedge fund manager Alan Howard, Amber Group, Blockchain.com, Brevan Howard, Circle Ventures, Finality Capital Partners and Pantera Capital.
• Hex Trust, a leading Asian digital asset custodian with US$5 billion in assets under management, has raised $US88 million in a Series B round of funding intended for expansion in Singapore and Hong Kong.
The round was co-led by Animoca Brands and Liberty City Ventures with participation from Ripple Labs, Terra, Morgan Creek, Primavera Venture Partners, LeadBlock Partners, Eterna Capital and Sino Global Capital among others.
• Luno, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (which also owns the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust and the media outlet CoinDesk) is launching an early-stage investment arm to back global fintech and crypto startups. The venture, dubbed Luno Expeditions, reportedly intends to fund between 200-300 startups each year, investing between US$15 million to US$75 million annually.
• Oxio, a New York-based telecom-as-a-service (TAAS) platform, has raised US$40 million in a Series B funding round led by ParaFi Capital. What’s the crypto connection? Oxio turns mobile data into blockchain-based digital assets.
Ascend, Leydon and Digital Currency Group also participated in the funding, joined by previous investors Multicoin Capital, Monashees, Atlantico Capital and FinTech Collective.
• Curated is a newly launched US$30 million investment fund focused on NFT art and it’s attracted a who’s who of heavy-hitting crypto investors. These include, among many others: Andreessen Horowitz’s Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon, as well as Alexis Ohanian, Justin Kan and Electric Capital’s founding partners Avichal Garg and Curtis Spencer.
"We want to become a top collector of culturally and historically significant assets," Curated co-founder @toddg777 told Decrypt, following the launch of the new $30 million NFT investment fund https://t.co/jqwV6NZMXZ pic.twitter.com/haCFXR6low
— Decrypt (@decryptmedia) March 11, 2022
• Zebec, a “continuous and programmable cash stream” DeFi protocol built on the Solana blockchain recently concluded token sales that generated US$28 million from private and public investors. The private investors included: Solana Ventures, Coinbase, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Circle, and Alameda Research.
• Magic Eden, Solana’s biggest NFT marketplace, has raised US$27 million in a Series A funding round led by Paradigm, with Sequoia Capital, Solana Ventures, Greylock Partners, Electric Capital and others participating.
The fresh capital will help Magic Eden focus on the blockchain gaming sector – the firm has just launched Eden Games, a content hub for game publishers.
Funding exclusive on NFT marketplace Magic Eden: https://t.co/MwXUlx1PU6
— Hannah Miller (@hgmiller29) March 14, 2022
• Crypto Unicorns, a digital-pet-collecting and farming game built on Polygon, has raised US$26 million in a token sale, as reported by Stockhead last week.
The funding was led by metaverse company TCG and venture capital fund Backed VC, with participation from BITKRAFT Ventures, Delphi Digital, Infinity Venture Crypto, Polygon Studios, CoinFund, BreederDAO, Emfarsis and ACME Capital.
• Gauntlet, a crypto-focused financial modeling platform, has secured the coveted unicorn status after raising US$23.8 million during a Series B funding round. Silicon Valley-based VC firm Ribbit Capital led the cash splashing on this one, with participation from existing investors Paradigm and Polychain Capital.