At a time when its competitors are being acquired, crypto custody provider Fireblocks is raising $133 million to stay the course.
“We became sort of a big piece of the market infrastructure,” Fireblocks CEO Michael Shaulov told CoinDesk in an interview. “We now have over 230 clients, all the big institutions, and we need to guarantee to them our financial stability and the fact that we will remain independent.”
Among those clients is BNY Mellon, the world’s largest custodial bank, which participated in the Series C funding round. Shaulov confirmed what CoinDesk first reported late last month, that Fireblocks is working with BNY Mellon to build the bank’s bitcoin custody product.
The $133 million raise was led by Coatue, Ribbit Capital and Stripes. Previous investors Paradigm, Galaxy Digital, Swisscom Ventures, Tenaya Capital and Cyberstarts Ventures also participated, bringing Fireblocks’ total funding to $179 million since launching in July 2018.
When PayPal confirmed its acquisition of custody tech provider Curv earlier this month, observers noted that fintech firms acquiring crypto natives might become the norm in 2021. Custody – the secure storage and transfer of digital assets on behalf of large investors – is an increasingly valuable niche as Wall Street stalwarts rush to provide crypto products to their customers.
“If we would have been acquired by someone, the value of Fireblocks would be significantly less than the value of Fireblocks as an independent player,” Shaulov said, pointing to the firm’s crypto transfer network as a differentiating factor.
While Curv will work under PayPal’s remit, Fireblocks, BitGo, Anchorage and others will now compete for what Shaulov called a rapidly expanding market of institutional clients.
“We are here for them for the long run,” he said.