Crypto startup MoonPay hits $ 3.4 billion valuation in new funding round


MoonPay CEO and Co-Founder Ivan Soto-Wright speaking at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, Florida.

Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Cryptocurrency startups have raised record funds this year.

It should come as no surprise then that some major players in the space – from the virtual bureau de change of the Winklevoss Gemini twins to the blockchain start-up of Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys – have announced massive new financing deals last week.

MoonPay, a relative newcomer, is taking venture capital crypto-mania to new heights. The three-year-old fintech company said on Monday it raised $ 555 million in its very first funding round. The investment, led by Tiger Global and Coatue, values ​​the company at $ 3.4 billion.

Founded in 2018, Miami-based MoonPay’s software allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrency using conventional payment methods such as credit cards, bank transfers, or mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

It also sells its technology to other companies, including the crypto website and the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea, a model CEO Ivan Soto-Wright calls “crypto-as-a. -service”.

Soto-Wright said the company aims to make cryptography accessible to the masses in the same way video conferencing tools like Zoom make making internet calls easier.

“With blockchain and cryptocurrencies, I think right now we’re still in the dial-up era,” he told CNBC in an interview.

“Eventually we’ll get to that place where it’s easy to move any value anywhere in the world, and the costs are as close to zero as possible.”

“PayPal for cryptography”

With prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have hit all-time highs in recent times, with venture capital investments in start-ups fueling the market booming. Investors are looking for the next Coinbase after the crypto exchange giant’s blockbuster list in April.

MoonPay’s rhetoric to investors is that it provides a “gateway” to digital assets. For now, that includes bitcoin, ether, and other digital tokens like NFTs. But Soto-Wright’s vision is to expand the platform to include everything from digital fashion to tokenized stocks.

“People call us like PayPal, but for crypto,” he said.

The company has strict controls and audits in place to combat money laundering, Soto-Wright said. Regulators are increasingly wary of illegal activity in the market.

MoonPay says it has been profitable since launching its platform in 2019. The company is on track to hit $ 150 million in annual revenue this year after transaction volumes increased 35-fold from 2020. Its service is now used by more than 7 million customers.

Still, the company faces stiff competition, especially from fintech pioneers like PayPal, which rolled out its own crypto features last year.

Soto-Wright said he was not worried about the competition. He described PayPal as a “walled garden” that does not give users control over their assets. “We believe the future of crypto lies in customers taking ownership of their private keys,” passwords that allow people to access their funds, he said.

IPO ambitions

Going forward, MoonPay plans to spend the money collected on new products and expansion. Soto-Wright said the company already has ambitions to take the company public. “We aspire to become a public company in the long term,” he said.

However, cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, and this has had an impact on even the most well-known players in the space. Coinbase, for example, sales estimates missed in the third quarter after a drop in the number of monthly users.

Bitcoin hit an all-time high of nearly $ 69,000 earlier this month, but has since fallen about 17%. Ether, meanwhile, is down 13% from its record.

Soto-Wright said MoonPay is prepared for a potential downturn in the crypto markets, adding that the company is “agnostic” about the assets it supports.

“In the same way that telecommunications have been disrupted by Voice over IP (Internet Protocol), we believe that over time financial services and all these different applications will be disrupted by blockchain,” he said. .

“There is obviously going to be volatility as the market tries to figure out which assets, which blockchains are ultimately going to be adopted.”

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