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Beijing-based mining giant Bitmain has invested $1.6m in bitcoin-focused data and trading services provider BitKan.

Bitmain was the sole investor in the Series A round, which follows an angel round investment from Lanqi Venture Capital Investment last November. Based in Shenzhen, BitKan offers bitcoin data and pricing services, and recently launched an over-the-counter (OTC) bitcoin trading service.

Founded in 2013, BitKan was launched by former employees of China-based IT giant Huawei. The firm offers Google Play and iTunes apps, and the startup hopes to leverage its existing reach to encourage trading on its platform.

The firm said in statements that the investment and the new trading feature represent a formal change in the company’s business strategy, one that positions it more as a competitor to existing peer-to-peer bitcoin trading services.

A spokesperson told CoinDesk:

"The new feature, when leveraging BitKan's existing user base and news and price charting functionality, holds great potential that has already been demonstrated by services with similar functionality such as LocalBitcoins."

In addition to manufacturing mining hardware, Bitmain also operates Antpool, the world’s largest bitcoin mining pool at press time with 28% of the network’s hashrate.

The investment finds Bitmain becoming increasingly willing to invest its funds in the wider bitcoin ecosystem, following its participation in a March funding round for smart contract platform Rootstock and its February investment in Israeli payments service Simplex.

Image via BitKan

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