Crypto markets may have descended from the highs reached earlier this year, but venture capital in crypto remains on an upsurge.
The rally in Bitcoin earlier in the year was attributed largely to institutional investors’ adoption of crypto, and as these investors — in particular, financial institutions — increasingly look to invest in and offer crypto-related services to their customers, custody of their digital assets is a key consideration.
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Fireblocks, an enterprise-grade digital asset custody platform, today announced the completion of a US$310 million series-D investment round, boosting the company’s valuation to US$2 billion, according to a company statement.
The investment round was co-led by Sequoia Capital, Stripes, Spark Capital, Coatue, DRW VC and SCB 10X, the venture arm of Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank. With its investment, SCB 10X joins fellow lenders BNY Mellon and SVB Capital as investors in Fireblocks. Since its launch in 2019, Fireblocks has raised US$489 million from global venture capital firms, with its US$133 million series-C investment round completed in March.
“As crypto becomes increasingly important, we are seeing an explosion of companies that handle digital assets, including crypto-native companies, fintech companies, neobanks and traditional financial institutions,” said Ravi Gupta, a partner at Sequoia Capital. “The secure storage and transfer of digital assets will be core to all of these businesses, and Fireblocks is positioned to become the infrastructure for companies to secure and move digital assets.”
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Fireblocks provides digital assets custody services to more than 500 institutions around the world — from traditional banking giants like BNY Mellon to challenger banks like Revolut and cryptocurrency exchanges like Crypto.com — and secures more than US$1 trillion in digital assets, according to the company. Last year, Fireblocks established operations in Hong Kong and Singapore. It intends to deploy the new capital to expand its business lines and grow its customer base and partnerships.
Fireblocks’ multi-party computation technology — a core part of its platform — enables secure storage and transfer of digital assets by breaking up, encrypting and dividing the private key among multiple parties across different devices and locations.
Mukaya Panich, chief venture and investment officer at SCB 10X, told Forkast.News that the bank — an investor, partner and customer of Fireblocks — has been working closely with Fireblocks to implement its institutional-grade crypto custody and network infrastructure solutions for use with Siam Commercial Bank’s several blockchain-based bank initiatives.
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“Institutional interest in crypto has meaningfully increased in the last year, and one of the critical areas of infrastructure that institutions are focused on is custody,” Panich said. “Every institution wants to ensure that their digital assets will be protected in an absolutely safe and secure manner, and custody is critical for this.”
“We needed a secure wallet and infrastructure that can support fast-speed, high-volume trading with high security. Fireblocks’ hot wallet and Fireblocks network were exactly what we were looking for,” Panich said. “Fireblocks’ technology and business model really stand out, and are truly unique among next-generation digital asset security platforms, especially for securing digital assets in motion. Their asset transfer network and crypto custody infrastructure are world-class, and unparalleled in the digital asset space.”
Panich said that although several other custody providers operate, Fireblocks differentiated itself by offering a white-label crypto custody product that allows customers to self-custody their digital assets without having to rely on third parties.
“We believe this distinctive feature will be of growing importance, as many of the new institutions entering the space will want to do self-custody to keep operation, risk and compliance flexibly in-house.”
Fireblocks network connects to liquidity partners, trading venues and counterparties in one platform for instant trading and settlement. “Digital assets are most vulnerable for hacks or getting stolen during transit, as the surface area for attacks increases meaningfully,” Panich said. “Fireblocks network ensures that institutions can move their assets in a very secure manner, which is of critical importance, especially to banks, custodians, and crypto exchanges, who have the need to move their digital assets on a regular basis.”
Michael Shaulov, CEO of Fireblocks, told Forkast.News in a recent interview that the company’s “mission is really to make it much simpler and safer for institutions to operate in crypto, because we do believe that there is a transformational capability around blockchain on financial institutions, on financial systems, on inclusion, on removing counterparty risk — which is extremely important.”
Institutions will be the gateway to digital assets, Shaulov said. “In order to really bring it to the masses, we need the banks. We need the neobanks. We need the exchanges. We need all those entities to be able to operate efficiently. They also need to be able to operate across some of the more interesting use cases that blockchain brings.”
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