A Japanese blockchain startup has raised ¥720m (or just over $6.5m) in a new Series A funding round.
TechBureau, which operates a bitcoin exchange called Zaif and a permissioned blockchain platform named Mijin, netted the investment from a group of investors. Participants in the round included Arara, a financial services firm; online information portal OKWAVE; VC firms Nippon Technology Venture Partners and Hiroshima Venture Capital; and FISCO, a corporate analysis firm.
The round also included an existing investor, Money Partners Group, a forex broker that invested in the startup last month.
According to the announcement, the startup will use the capital to hire additional employees. TechBureau also intends to develop blockchain applications in partnership with its investors.
TechBureau CEO Takao Asayama said that the funding follows a successful test conducted with Nomura Research Institute (NRI) and SBI Holdings, a Japanese firm that has made a number of investments in the country's digital currency and blockchain space in recent months.
Future plans, he said, include a merging of the Zaif and Mijin business lines, as well as expanding geographically.
Asayama told CoinDesk:
"We [aim to] start working on similar alliances outside of Japan, getting ready for the launch of distributions."
The investment comes amid a shifting landscape in Japan for bitcoin and blockchain. As the government looks to clarify its position on digital currencies – including a move to classify them as a form of "asset-like value" – some aspects of the administration have begun exploring applications of the technology as well.
Image via Mijin