Boost VC, Battery Ventures Lead BlockScore's $2 Million Seed Round

The one-time bitcoin-only ID verification specialist has raised $2m to expand its customer base into the wider tech world.

AccessTimeIconJun 26, 2014 at 3:41 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 6, 2023 at 3:41 p.m. UTC
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UPDATE (26th June 19:00 BST): Updated with commentary from BlockScore president Christopher Morton

Palo Alto-based identity verification service BlockScore has raised $2m in a seed funding round from a range of high-profile investors.

Notable names in the round include bitcoin exchange software provider Vaurum investor Battery Ventures, bitcoin enthusiast Jeremy Liew’s Lightspeed Venture Partners and Adam Draper’s Boost VC, a firm that has pledged to accelerate 100 bitcoin companies through till 2017.

The funding comes at a time when BlockScore is aggressively expanding beyond its roots in the bitcoin ecosystem. The company now serves a wide range of clients with its ID verification services – including e-commerce marketplaces, financial institutions and digital currency startups, and reports that it grew by 200% in the last month alone.

Christopher Morton, president of BlockScore, told CoinDesk he sees his company's funding success as a win for the wider bitcoin ecosystem, saying:

"We are excited to remove some of the most significant barriers. We envision a day where banks and regulators will treat bitcoin companies like any other business."

Additional investors in the seed round included New Atlantic Ventures, Khosla Ventures and startup incubator Y Combinator, which recently accepted bitcoin ATM manufacturer BitAccess onto its program.

The news follows the March launch of the company's international APIs and its website redesign in February.

Bitcoin roots

As evidenced by the investors participating in the round, BlockScore has strong connections to the bitcoin community. BlockScore CEO John Backus met co-founder and CTO Alan Meier at a meeting of the Stanford Bitcoin Group, an organization the pair also founded.

Despite the fact that the company has moved away from its early days serving only bitcoin wallets, exchanges and miners, Meier noted the company is still happy to assist those companies in the industry, telling CoinDesk in February:

"We do love to help bitcoin companies in particular.”

Bitcoin companies can choose between several price plans, including a pay-as-you-go offering with no monthly fee and a plan for larger operations that charges $0.80 per verification.

Once enabled, BlockScore asks customers to provider their name, address, date of birth and either their passport number or the last four digits of their Social Security number. This information is then checked against private and public databases.

Positive reaction

BlockScore indicated in February that its bitcoin service was already proving popular among at least one sector of the industry – bitcoin ATM operators, though it was also serving exchange and wallet providers.

Meier told CoinDesk that the company's software had helped these community members better meet anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) compliance in the face of the then increasing regulatory attention on the industry.

Meier said:

"We’ve heard some very, very good feedback. Essentially, when they implement our stuff, people just don’t need to worry about half of the compliance they had to worry about before."

For more on BlockScore's service and goals, read our most recent BlockScore interview.

Image via BlockScore


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