Cryptocurrency Startup News: August

Action remains hot across digital asset startups as the total cryptocurrency market cap just put in its first $2 trillion weekly close since May. This return signals a bullish sentiment that could translate to continued interest in crypto startups, with more money to spend than places to spend it.

MobileCoin Pulls $66 Million

Binance-backed MobileCoin closed a Series B round on August 18th to further scale its digital payment ecosystem. The company, which is fresh off a Q1 Series A $11.4 million raise added another $66 million in fundraising to back its wallet and instantaneous transaction technology, which looks to compete with privacy-focused, transaction-based cryptos like Monero.

Although the coin itself hasn’t gained much traction, ranking well outside the top 2500 cryptos, smart money seems to believe in the vision of a more consumer-friendly mobile crypto wallet. A pre-money valuation of $1 billion and a $66 million round seems big for a company that doesn’t have its flagship product launched yet (their recoverable digital mobile wallet app is still in development), but a proven team in co-founders Joshua Goldbard and Moxie Marlinspike (the creator of messaging app Signal) attractive, especially in the crypto space.

The 23-investor round attracted a range of high-profile VCs and investors, most notably Alameda Research, Berggruen Holdings, General Catalyst, and Coinbase Ventures. Also attached to the deal are recognizable names from the music business: Lady Gaga’s manager-turned-venture-capitalist Troy Carter and R&B crooner Brent Faiyaz.

Coinbase’s $500 Million Crypto Double-Down

Thursday, Coinbase’s board approved a dollar-cost-averaging strategy to buy over $500 million in crypto over the next several years. The second-largest crypto exchange’s portfolio will carry Bitcoin along with “Ethereum, Proof of Stake assets, DeFi tokens, and many other crypto assets” on its balance sheet.

This move comes much to the chagrin of some investors, many of whom wanted exposure to the cryptocurrency industry without experiencing the volatility behind owning actual coins. Nonetheless, the market responded positively, with Coinbase shares up over 4% on Friday as of writing.

In a venture capital environment where firms often receive their stake in a particular project’s tokens (Binance, for example, was rewarded for their seed investment in MobileCoin with 37.5 million of 250 million available tokens), this move might present an opportunity for Coinbase to have more competitive access to these deal structures, as well as an opportunity for them to pick up some of these up-and-coming coins at favorable prices.

Walmart Makes Waves on LinkedIn

Walmart posted a LinkedIn job listing for a Digital Currency and Cryptocurrency Product Lead late last Thursday night, the latest big name to signal an interest in entering the space.

That’s not necessarily crypto startup news, but part of the role is related to “identify(ing) Crypto-related investment and partnerships,” which is another step towards mainstream crypto adoption and perhaps a step towards M&A action in the space from the retail giant.

Although it’s probably pretty far off, the Walmart acquisition of a crypto company would arguably be the highest-profile entry of a legacy public company into the crypto space. While other publicly traded companies (Tesla, MicroStrategy) have purchased digital tokens in the past, the cryptocurrency startup ecosystem still remains isolated without any big names purchasing crypto companies. Walmart’s been quite active in M&A in the past, so don’t be surprised if they’re the first.

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