Crypto Lender BlockFi Raises $350M at a $3B Valuation
BlockFi plans to use the Series D to build a range of financial services, said CEO Zac Prince. Is a public offering next for the crypto unicorn?
Crypto lender BlockFi has raised a whopping $350 million.
Investors in the Series D funding round valued the company at $3 billion, BlockFi announced Thursday. The round was co-led by Bain Capital Ventures and joined by a slew of others.
BlockFi is looking to cement itself as one of the leading lenders in the cryptocurrency industry, providing both trade execution services for institutions and opportunities for retail investors to get yield on their bitcoin holdings.
BlockFi currently has $10 billion in outstanding loans, $15 billion in total assets and has been “operating profitably for several months,” BlockFi CEO Zac Prince told CoinDesk in an interview.
The latest injection of capital will go toward doubling BlockFi’s 500-person team by the end of 2021, launching a bitcoin rewards credit card in the second quarter and expanding the focus of its retail products to markets outside the U.S., said Prince.
Plus, BlockFi wants to add services outside of just crypto. This could include digital securities, but Prince declined to comment further.
“I think that a crypto company or multiple crypto companies have the opportunity to replace traditional banks on a global scale for the primary banking relationship with consumers,” Prince said.
BlockFi said Thursday it has 225,000 users, up from 10,000 in late 2019.
BlockFi funding spree
With Thursday’s announcement, BlockFi has now raised more than $450 million in venture capital. The firm’s $50 million Series C was announced last August, when it had a mere $1.5 billion in crypto assets on the platform.
“We are interested in becoming a public company, and as you start to think about doing that the composition of your capital base and types of investors shifts towards folks that can consider holding their position through a public event,” Prince said of the firm’s future plans.
The new funding will also “provide capital for select acquisition opportunities,” BlockFi said in a press release.
This week, the lender came under fire on Crypto Twitter for arbitrage trading with shares of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).
BlockFi’s position in GBTC “is substantially less than 20%” of total assets, Prince said.
Last month, the firm launched a bitcoin trust to compete against Grayscale's offering, although it also increased its shares in GBTC in recent weeks and has used the premium on the fund to make money off arbitrage trades for its clients. (Digital Currency Group, the parent company of Grayscale, also owns CoinDesk.)
In January, BlockFi launched an over-the-counter market trading desk; it rolled out private client services in Asia in February.
Pomp Investments and “partners of DST Global” joined Bain in co-leading the Series D, according to a press release. The $350 million funding round – among the largest in the crypto space in recent memory – includes participation from Susquehanna Government Products, Bracket Capital, Paradigm, Valar Ventures, Morgan Creek Digital, Akuna Capital, PJC, Hudson River Trading, ParaFi Capital, Jump Capital, Pacific Century Group, Gaingels, Third Prime, Kenetic, CMS Holdings, Breyer Capital, The Venture Collective and Castle Island Ventures.
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