Having achieved scale of 2.3M consumer bitcoin wallets, and reaching $26B in overall transaction volume since being founded in 2011, Blockchain has announced that it has raised a $30M Series A financing round. Led by Lightspeed Ventures and Wicklow, with participation as well from Sir Richard Branson, Mosaic Ventures and notable angel investors, the $30M round matches BitPay’s $30M Series A financing which was announced in May as the largest single round funding in the industry and also included Branson as an investor.
According to Blockchain in their public statements, funds will be used to “scale its product & engineering teams, in order to develop innovative new features for its users. It will also invest to further its international expansion and increase bitcoin wallet functionality and usability for the next 20 million Bitcoin users.”
Although this is Blockchain’s first round, the company has been active in M&A, having purchased ClarkMoody’s RTBTC charting and trading platform in March of this year as well as the ZeroBlock mobile app in 2013.
Blockchain is best known for its consumer bitcoin wallet which is available both as a mobile and web based app. The company became the target of sympathy in February of this year when Apple removed its iOS app from their iTunes app store. As the most downloaded iOS bitcoin app, the removal led to industry anger towards Apple. However, the app was reinstated at the end of July with Blockchain launching an updated version of the bitcoin wallet. Around the same time, Blockchain announced that it had surpassed 2M in bitcoin wallets, illustrating that at a current 2.3M, the firm continues to experience consistent user expansion, growing 15% in slightly more than two months even as prices have fallen.
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According to Blockchain, the 2.3M figure represents 2100% growth from around 100,000 users a year and a half ago. In addition, the firm related that it has a 90% market share in bitcoin blockchain related searches, as well as 6000 Blockchain POS users.
The deal represents that despite current weakness in bitcoins prices which have fallen from over $1000 earlier in the year to a recent $330, investors continue to pour money into the sector. Within deals tracked on the DC Magnates Crypto Deals Table, investments have been wide ranging including strategic partnerships, asset purchases, and a variety of venture funds entering the space.
Among investors, Sir Richard Branson is possibly the most interesting as in addition to his bets on the bitcoin industry with investments in BitPay and Blockchain, he also participated in UK low cost money transfer startup, TransferWise’s $25 funding round in June. Having his own anti-establishment leanings, his investments in both fiat and digital payments reveal that Branson believes there is a huge opportunity in providing alternatives to traditional banking and money transfer solutions. In regards to Blockcahin, Branson commented “The potential for a global transformation in payments powered by Bitcoin is very exciting”. Adding “Consumers are being offered much greater control and freedom with their money and more of them have chosen Blockchain’s safe and easy to use wallet to hold their Bitcoins than any other.”
Also commenting in Blockchain’s public release about the news was Peter Smith who stated that ““The company has grown exponentially in every way over the last eighteen months. We are honoured to add investors and partners to the team with deep expertise in financial services and consumer technology.”