The partnership will enable Bithumb to further expand in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The company noted that it still needs to gain approval from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, which issued regulations for crypto exchanges last summer. If it passes, Bithumb's UAE exchange could launch around the middle of the year.
Bithumb has certainly been busy. Last week, it launched a global over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk for digital assets, and it is looking to go public in the U.S. through a reverse-merger deal.
In other news, Chainalysis, a crypto transaction analysis startup, announced that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding, led by venture capital (VC) firm Accel. Additional investments came from Benchmark, which led Chainalysis’ $16 million Series A round last April. Chainalysis will use some of this latest funding to open a new office and research-and-development (R&D) lab in London.
“The investment and the timing of it shows that, despite fluctuating prices, there is quite a strong conviction among some very big VCs that this is not a short-term play,” said Michael Gronager, CEO and co-founder of Chainalysis, according to CoinDesk.
While European blockchain technology companies saw a record year in VC investment in 2018, new data shows that they still didn't receive as much funding as FinTech companies.
According to Innovate Finance’s "2018 FinTech VC Investment Landscape" report, "2018 was a record year in FinTech, with $36.6 billion of venture capital invested in the sector across 2,304 deals, a 148 percent or 2.5 times increase from 2017, and a 329 percent or 4.3 times increase over five years. The second quarter of 2018, in particular, saw Ant Financial raise an astonishing $14 billion — both a record for FinTech as well as for venture capital."
Though the region's blockchain and cryptocurrency industry had a number of major deals in 2018, only four of them amounted to over $300 million.