Japanese venture capital firm to invest in bitcoin exchange Kraken

NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Global bitcoin exchange Kraken said on Monday Japanese venture capital firm SBI Investment will invest in the company and lead a Series B round of financing for the digital currency firm.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“SBI’s investment means a lot to us,” Kraken Chief Executive Officer Jesse Powell said in a statement. “It’s a fantastic first step toward completing Series B, which will ultimately enable us to scale our business worldwide.”

SBI Investment is a unit of SBI Holdings, an internet-based financial conglomerate with operating revenues of more than $2 billion in 2015 and operating income of around $570 million. The SBI Group consists of 208 companies operating in approximately 20 countries and regions.

“We knew that we wanted to invest in Bitcoin and the blockchain,” SBI Holdings CEO Yoshitaka Kitao said in the same statement. “We wanted a company that would be a wise strategic investment.”

Kraken, based in San Francisco, raised $5 million in a Series A financing in March 2014. The round was led by Hummingbird Ventures with participation from Blockchain Capital and Digital Currency Group, among other investors.

Less than two weeks ago, Kraken announced the acquisition of digital currency exchanges Coinsetter and Cavirtex to strengthen its expansion in North America.

Bitcoin on Monday last traded at $374.70, up 1.7 percent on the day. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Dan Grebler)