Bitcoin and blockchain technology companies are continuing to raise money from venture capitalists and investors, with the groups in the space raising more in 2018 than they did last year.
According to a report in TechCrunch, Circle is the latest crypto startup to get funding, raising $110 million in a Series E round led by bitcoin mining company Bitmain. Other investors in the round included Tusk Ventures, Pantera Capital, IDG Capital Partners, General Catalyst, Accel Partners, Digital Currency Group, Blockchain Capital and Breyer Capital, reported TechCrunch. The round gives Circle a valuation of $2.9 billion pre-money, which is up from its $420 million pre-money valuation during its Series D round of fundraising. That closed in March of 2016, noted the report. According to data from CrunchBase, only Coinbase and Robinhood were in the club of crypto unicorns before Circle joined them.
What’s more — according to CrunchBase, so far in 2018, the dollar amount invested in blockchain companies has already surpassed the total for all of 2017. It’s also more than the reported funding totals for the year-and-a-half from July 1st of 2016 to December 31st, 2017. And it wasn’t just Circle that helped push that number higher so far for 2018. CrunchBase pointed out in the TechCrunch report that Orbs raised $118 million, Ledger raised $75 million, Project Shivom raised $32 million and Chainalysis raised $16 million. There were also larger rounds that drove the venture funding to the more than $1 billion mark.
The interest on the part of the venture capitalists and investors comes at a time when regular investors may not be as enamored with the market as they were a year ago. Last year investors sent bitcoin — the leading cryptocurrency — surging, prompting more and more people to want to invest. It was also the year of bitcoin mining, in which all sorts of people used their computers to mine for the coins. That has sent the stock prices of chip makers AMD and Nvidia higher as consumers purchase their graphics drives in droves. And while there have been many predictions that bitcoin will go to zero, the interest from VCs shows the industry is just taking off.