ConsenSys, ShapeShift, Bitmain, and Huobi are among the notable crypto upstarts that have announced layoffs in recent weeks, citing bids to extend their financial runways. However, other Bitcoin-friendly companies have bolstered their war chests through other mediums, accentuating that venture investors haven’t shirked away from this budding sector. Far from, in fact.
Crypto Firm Bread Scores $15M In Series B Round
Per an exclusive report from crypto-friendly media portal TechCrunch, Bread, a cryptocurrency wallet provider that sold $6 million worth of BRD tokens within 216 seconds in late-2017, has raised $15 million in a Series B round. The outlet claims that this influx of funding came from SBI Crypto Investment, a venture arm of Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings. Fittingly, this $15 million will be used to bolster Bread’s influence and reputation in Japan and broader Asia, along with the team’s engineering staff.
Upstart chief executive Adam Traidman, formerly of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, remarked in a company-signed statement:
“The new investment will ensure our long-term global growth, and we are incredibly excited about collaborating with SBI as a strategic investor and business partner to make that happen.”
It is important to note that “global growth” wasn’t Traidman’s attempt to bolster his company’s bottom line, but rather, a fact. In fact, the firm finished the year with 1.8 million global users, who collectively store $6 billion worth of Bitcoin, Ethereum, among other digital assets on the platform.
Interestingly, SBI Holdings’ financial involvement in Bread comes after reports arose that an affiliate of the Japanese firm would be launching its own proprietary wallet offering. Per previous reports from NewsBTC, SBI Group-linked VCTRADE unveiled plans to launch a high-security custodial digital asset wallet in October. VCTRADE revealed that it had enlisted the technology of Sepior, a cybersecurity firm, to bolster its wallet service through multiparty computation (MPC).
The closure of this octuple-digit funding round comes after reports arose that both 1confirmation and Galaxy Digital, two crypto firms focused on investment, purportedly began funding rounds for $60 million and $250 million respectively.
2019 looks bright for crypto funding, but will venture capitalists, Wall Streeters, and high net-worth individuals bite?
Mobile Bitcoin Wallet Game Heats Up
Bread’s newly-lined pockets come as rumors arose that Samsung, the Seoul-based tech conglomerate that has become a smartphone giant, has plans to integrate a “Blockchain KeyStore” (it’s a crypto wallet) into its Galaxy S10 flagship. This simple integration, which purportedly comes preloaded on all S10 devices, could allow Samsung to take over the hegemony that Bread, Coinbase, and other infrastructure providers have held over the crypto wallet subsector.
Whether Bread or Samsung succeeds, Spencer Chen, the vice president of global marketing of the former firm, was adamant that a need for a single, global currency, like Bitcoin, still exists. Yet, Chen made it clear that the demise of cryptocurrencies during 2018 was a byproduct of hype, drawing attention to the mass of “fast-money, traders, and speculators” that flocked to this space en-masse to turn a quick buck. The Bread executive even added that his as his firm has a proclivity to stay committed to the “core mission of crypto,” it was “nothing more than frustrating” to see industry participants take notable steps backward in 2018.
Then again, Chen made it clear that “money that work[s] just like the open internet” is crypto’s viable, long-term raison d’etre.
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