A year ago, Blockchain startup BlockEx seemed like one of the most promising startups in the crypto space following its outstanding ICO event, where the London-based company has managed to raise over $24 million in presale and institutional investment.
This happened in January 2018 when cryptocurrencies were in the midst of a hockey-stick ascent. But as of January this year, the plunge in the crypto market is weighing on the fintech startup that caters to financial institutions.
According to BlockEx’s year-end update, seen by Finance Magnates, after the ICO dust settled, the majority of investment funds weren’t actually available to the business.
The company’s CEO Adam Leonard revealed that a consortium of token-buyers that contracted or committed to invest £9 million failed to deliver on their contributions due to the crypto bear market.
According to the company’s report, BlockEx’s collected funds have come from accredited investors including individuals, cryptocurrency hedge funds, family offices, and institutional players focused on equity purchases.
BlockEx also suffered because the company kept a large portion of its funds in digital assets, whether in tokens it sold through initial coin offerings or in crypto coins. As prices collapsed this year by more than 90 percent in some cases, and the company’s internal digital wallets thinned out, BlockEx lost £4.3 million of the value of its assets. BlockEx attributed part of these losses to changes in EUR/GBP exchange rates between raising and liquidating the assets.
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“So in reality, out of the £20 million of funds raised, we were actually left with just £5.5 million of available funds for the business on a go forward basis,” the statement further explained.
CEO Remains Upbeat
When BlockEx discovered it could end up in a financial crunch, and couldn’t raise funds that initial backers promised, it started seeking additional investors. That said, compared to a year ago, the process is far more complicated in the midst of a bear market.
The startup already signed up a private investor to commit £5 million, but the funding failed to materialize after the investor indicated that “they were now too exposed to a further softened crypto market.”
BlockEx CEO Adam Leonard remained upbeat, however. He sought to soothe shareholder unrest, telling the investors that interest in his company’s offering remains robust despite the downturn. Specifically, he says BlockEx received a new investment proposal from a “significant and credible investor” who can help take its technology into quickly regulating markets.
Leonard expects to close the deal in two months “if all goes well.”
BlockEx offers a platform that “manages the entire lifecycle of blockchain based digital assets, including origination, issuance, exchange, settlement, and redemption,” according to its website. Its services are three: a cryptocurrency exchange building service, an ICO marketplace connecting projects and investors, and a digital bond service which uses blockchain technology to manage investor-to-company loans.
BlockEx is the latest cryptocurrency-linked firm said to have run into financial trouble, as cryptocurrency prices struggle to recover from a steep decline throughout 2018. However, the company seems a bit luckier than others as the crypto landscape is littered with the carcasses of ill-fated startups. Other cryptocurrency operators have been laying off large swathes of their workforces over the past few months as the market crash hits businesses.