The cryptocurrency industry is steaming hot. The total market value of cryptocurrencies is approaching $2 trillion – that’s bigger than the market caps of Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Bitcoin has been trading above $50,000 since March 8 and has a market value of $1.12 trillion, almost as much as all the silver in the world. FOMO-ed institutions keep pouring into the space. Tesla will start accepting payments for its electric vehicles in bitcoin, adding the cryptocurrency to its $2.5 billion bitcoin trove. One of the oldest banks in America, BNY Mellon, has launched a digital assets unit, Goldman Sachs has relaunched its crypto trading operations, JPMorgan has introduced a structured note offering tied to a basket of stocks with exposure to bitcoin, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have become the first major U.S. banks to offer their wealthy clients direct access to bitcoin.
But institutions and venture firms rushing to cash in on the surge don’t come empty-handed. Hoards of capital are pouring on crypto startups, minting new unicorns at a break-neck pace. Just in March, three crypto firms raised some of the largest capital raises in the industry’s short but rich history. There are now at least 18 crypto-native companies with unicorn status, according to data platform PitchBook.
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In the heyday of ICOs, companies raised billions but the hype was short-lived. Low-quality projects, multiple scams, and the lack of institutional and regulatory oversight led to what is now known as the Great Crypto Crash of 2018, when an index that tracks the performance of the 10 largest and most liquid digital assets plunged by 80%.
Crypto bulls are hoping that this time it is truly different. Publicly listed companies like MicroStrategy and Square have amassed sizable bitcoin positions on their balance sheets and are seeing it as an alternative to gold. Meanwhile applications for a U.S. bitcoin ETF are piling up at the SEC’s doorstep and the market is buzzing in anticipation of Coinbase’s direct listing slated for April 14, the first major public offering for a cryptocurrency company. Amid the frenzy, Forbes analyzed data from PitchBook and compiled a list of the 10 largest venture capital deals for blockchain and crypto-native firms.
Bitmain: $422 million
Deal date: August 7, 2018
VC round: Series B1
Notable investors: Crimson Capital China, Bluebell (Asia), Jumbo Sheen Group, Lioness Capital, Palace Investment Company, Pavilion Capital
Post-money valuation: $15 billion
Previous valuation: $12 billion
The world’s leading bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer, Bitmain also operates Antpool, one of the top bitcoin mining pools, accounting for more than 12% of bitcoin’s network hash, or computational, power. Shortly after the…