Blockchain firm Fireblocks raises $310 million, valuation at $2 bln

Representations of cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, DogeCoin, Ripple, Litecoin are placed on PC motherboard in this illustration taken, June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

NEW YORK/BENGALARU, July 27 (Reuters) - Fireblocks, a platform that allows banks and other financial institutions to store, move and issue cryptocurrencies, said on Tuesday it raised $310 million in fresh capital from investors, boosting its valuation to $2 billion.

The funding round was co-led by investment firms such as Sequoia Capital, Stripes, Spark Capital, Coatue, DRW Venture capital and SCB 10X, the venture arm of Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank (SCB.BK).

All six entities confirmed their participation in Fireblocks' capital raise.

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One of the things the company hopes to do with the funds is work with traditional financial institutions and bring assets to the blockchain, said Michael Shaulov, chief executive officer at Fireblocks.

"Timing is everything and I think right now it's the beginning of the real opportunity to do it," Shaulov told Reuters in an interview.

"We have seen quite a lot of projects and ... essentially the technology and the appetite to do it has reached the most senior levels of those banks," he added.

The financial sector has been adopting blockchain technology at a fast pace, with the banking sector identified as the industry most suited to use blockchain.

Recent statistics point to the increase in digital asset users, with the number of registered blockchain wallets in the second quarter of 2021 at than 70 million, up from 10.98 million in 2016, according to Fireblocks. By 2022, it is projected that more than one billion people will be utilizing blockchain wallets.

"As crypto becomes increasingly important, we are seeing an explosion of companies that handle digital assets, including crypto-native companies, fintech companies, neobanks and traditional financial institutions," said Ravi Gupta, Partner at Sequoia Capital, in a statement.

Since its inception in 2019, Fireblocks has raised a total of $489 million from some of the largest global venture capital investors in the fintech, blockchain and cybersecurity space including Cyberstarts, Eight Roads, Tenaya Capital, Swisscom, Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, and Coatue.

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Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

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