Crypto start-up raises $555m to take on established fintech players

4 days ago

Image: © Silent Way/Stock.adobe.com

Miami start-up MoonPay is riding the crypto wave with plans to take to the business public.

Cryptocurrency payments start-up MoonPay has raised $555m in its first financing round bringing its valuation to $3.4bn.

The three-year-old US operator is the latest crypto company to make a splash in an already crowded market. Its CEO Ivan Soto-Wright has said its business model is “similar to PayPal, but for crypto.”

MoonPay operates as a “crypto-as-a-service” according to Soto-Wright. It sells technology to other businesses and aims to make crypto accessible for all. It lets users buy and sell crypto using traditional payment methods like Google Pay, Apple Pay, credit cards and bank transfers.

MoonPay deals with major industry players Bitcoin.com and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea.

“With the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, I think right now we are still in the dial-up days,” Soto-Wright said in an interview.

“Eventually we will get to this place where it’s frictionless to move any amount of value around anywhere in the world, and costs move as close as possible to zero.”

Riding the crypto wave

Several major fintech players have already started carving out their own corner of the crypto market.

In August, PayPal brought its crypto trading service to the UK almost a year after it launched in the US. The payments giant’s crypto platform lets users buy, sell and hold four different cryptocurrencies using their accounts.

Mastercard acquired cryptocurrency intelligence company CipherTrace for an undisclosed sum in September. The acquisition followed the company’s earlier announcement that it planned to support cryptocurrencies on its payments network.

MoonPay’s CEO has said he also plans to look at mergers and acquisitions in order to fulfil his goal of bringing “a billion people into the crypto economy” by 2030. “We can do that faster by partnering with other companies,” he told CoinDesk.

Soto-Wright also claimed he wasn’t threatened by efforts of more established crypto competitors like PayPal, which he dismissed as a “walled garden” in an interview with CNBC.

MoonPay is currently used by around 7m customers around the world. It expects to hit $150m in annual revenue this year after transaction volumes increased 35-fold from last year. The start-up’s latest funding round was led by Tiger Global and Coatue. They were joined by new investors Thrive, NEA and Paradigm.

MoonPay eventually plans to take its business public. It also wants to use the funding from its latest round to hire more staff and continue its expansion. Since last year, the company has increased its staff headcount from five to more than 130 people.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com