Japan’s crypto platform Liquid joins unicorn club after IDG Capital-led Series C

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Global cryptocurrency platform Liquid on Wednesday announced that its valuation has topped $1 billion after the first close of an ongoing Series C funding round led by IDG Capital.

This makes it the second Japanese tech company to join the unicorn club after Preferred Networks.

Liquid offers trading services for major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum against fiat currency pairs in Japanese yen, US, Singapore and Australian dollar, and Euro. It has offices in Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.

In its statement on Wednesday, Liquid did not disclose the amount raised for the first close. It added that the financing was joined by Bitmain Technologies, the world’s largest maker of cryptocurrency mining rigs.

It previously raised more than $20 million in funding from backers including Japanese investment firms JAFCO, SBI, B Dash Ventures, Mistletoe, and ULS Group. In 2017, Liquid raised more than $100m in a pre-discounted ICO raise, which was the first regulated ICO to be done in Japan.

The company said it will use the proceeds from the ongoing Series C round to fuel its global expansion, product development of its core trading exchange business, and accelerate its foray into the security token market.

“This first round of Series C funding from our two highly respected investors, IDG Capital and Bitmain, puts us in an incredibly strong position to make a global impact in 2019,” Liquid CEO Mike Kayamori said.

Kayamori said Liquid’s vision is to make financial services accessible to all, which means bringing more people into the digital asset space “so that anyone can be a part of it”.

The investment in Liquid is not the first for IDG in the crypto space. The venture capital firm’s current portfolio of crypto investments include Coinbase, Ripple, Bitmain and Kakao’s crypto unit.

“We came to realize that Tokyo has emerged as a top destination for crypto innovation and it is our honor to back such visionary pioneers as Liquid Co-founders Mike Kayamori and Mario Gomez Lozada to carry out this innovation,” said IDG Capital general partner Young Guo.

Founded in 2014, Liquid has more than 300 employees. It saw more than $50 billion traded on its exchanges in the last 12 months as of July 2018. Last year, the company launched ICO Mission Control, an end-to-end technology solutions that offer a safe and secure platform for token issuers and participants.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.