itBit raises $3.25 Million to build finance-grade bitcoin trading platform

Daniel Cawrey
Nov 11, 2013 at 21:00 UTC
Updated May 15, 2015 at 16:15 UTC

A new virtual currency exchange has raised $3.25m to fund the expansion of its operations.

Singapore-based itBit, which has raised $5.5m in funding to date, will use the money to bring institutional investment technology to bitcoin.

“itBit is the first bitcoin exchange built on global equities exchange standards, therefore offering a new level of professionalism, reliability and security to bitcoin trading,” CEO Rich Teo and CTO Jason Melo of itBit told CoinDesk.

The recent round was funded by Canaan Partners and RRE Ventures, along with Liberty City ventures and other individual angel investors. itBit is bringing NASDAQ’s exchange technology to bitcoin.

Existing and previous digital currency exchanges have experienced severe technical issues in terms of security and reliability.

The company representatives said:

“The NASDAQ’s open source exchange technology allows itBit to plug bitcoin into the broader and established financial services ecosystem. The NASDAQ technology also affords us extremely performant and low latent connectivity to our market maker and other institutional players.”

The firm’s aim is to attract investors outside of the retail brokerage investing market for the time being. Teo and Melo said itBit uses a process to verify accredited investors.

“In the US, customers must be incorporated businesses, and we manually review each application on a case-by-case basis. We err on the side of caution to always ensure that we are operating within the bounds of current regulation,” they explained.

There are a number of companies that are currently trying to bring bitcoin investing and trading to the mass market. Coinsetter, a startup that received $500,000 in funding earlier this year, is building a Forex-style platform for trading bitcoins.

Vaurum, which is a Boost VC-backed company, has been building an engine that traditional brokerages might use to bring retail investors better access to virtual currencies.

While there are other valuable distributed ecurrencies out there, itBit is focusing its efforts just on bitcoin for the time being. The company members said:

“We are keeping an eye on other currencies but don’t have a roadmap to share yet on how they might be integrated. Right now we are quite focused on bitcoin.”

They believe that Singapore, known as a financial hub for Asian markets, is the best place to build their bitcoin company.

“Singapore’s regulators are very advanced and forward-looking, and are on the forefront of financial innovation.We chose to be headquartered in Singapore because it is a country that meets two major criteria for us,” the company’s leadership added.

“One, Singapore is a FATF-compliant country, meaning that is recognized as complying with internationally-endorsed standards for combating threats to the integrity of the international financial system. Two, it has regulatory and banking systems in place that are friendly to a bitcoin-related business such as ours. We have a great relationship with the Monetary Authority of Singapore,” they concluded.