Payments giant MasterCard has been named as one of 11 investors in Digital Currency Group's (DCG) new funding round.
It marks the first investment in the bitcoin and blockchain sector for all but four of the firms involved.
DCG founder and CEO Barry Silbert said in a statement:
Having backed 57 companies in 18 countries, the company has by far the largest early-stage investment portfolio in the sector.
Silbert – whose first company, SecondMarket, was acquired by NASDAQ Private Market last week – told CoinDesk DCG will invest in a further 10 to 20 companies in 2016.
In turn, his company is hoping to use its "unique position" in the industry to foster collaboration between entrepreneurs, investors and – crucially – legacy institutions, who are seeking answers about blockchain technology's disruptive potential.
Georg Schwegler, the CEO of TransAmerica Ventures, told CoinDesk his firm had joined DCG's round to get a broad overview of goings on in the space.
"Instead of investing in single companies in that space, we wanted to have access to a larger ecosystem on a global basis," he said.
Schwegler went on to describe the flexibility blockchain technology affords payment processes as "phenomenal".
Silbert told CoinDesk the firms involved had expressed interest in following up with investments or collaborations in individual startups:
TransAmerica's Schwegler told CoinDesk that it's interesting to see more and more financial incumbents recognise the potential of the blockchain:
The funding news marks the latest in a line of announcements that speak to the growing legitimacy of blockchain technology in the traditional payments arena.
Last week, American Express was named as one of the investors backing Abra, the remittance app run on bitcoin's blockchain, in its $12m Series A.
A month ago, Visa and Capital One backed Chain's latest round of $30m, as did French telecom giant Orange SA, Nasdaq and Citi Ventures.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.