Paypal’s cryptocurrency partner Paxos has raised $142 million in Series C funding led by Declaration Partners, an investment adviser to the family office of Carlyle Group billionaire David Rubenstein. The round closed on November 24 and also includes investments from PayPal Ventures PYPL +2.3% and Paxos’ previous investors RRE Ventures and Liberty City Ventures.
In total, the firm has raised $240 million in venture funding, making it one of the highest funded firms in crypto, after Circle, which has raised $271 million. The firm declined to disclose how much the investment valued the company.
New York City-based Paxos was founded in 2012 under the name itBit. It was among the first bitcoin startups to operate as a regulated trust company, offering custody services for U.S. customers under New York banking law. In October, payment giant Paypal launched a cryptocurrency trading service in partnership with Paxos, letting customers buy and spend bitcoin.
“Our pipeline has expanded very significantly from having been in the millions of customers maybe a year ago to, now, billions of customers through partnerships,” says Paxos’ CEO and co-founder Charles Cascarilla. “That is partly why we need to raise this capital, to really take advantage of the growth opportunities.”
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As part of the investment, the company plans to develop new products that help institutional clients track traditional assets like securities and commodities on a blockchain, a process called tokenization. “We always want to be able to think of other ways that we can grow our business, including, potentially, acquisitions and new hires,” adds Cascarilla. Part of the capital raise will be invested in regulatory infrastructure, which Cascarilla cites as one of the key reasons for Paxos’ success with onboarding strong institutional clients, such as PayPal and Credit Suisse CS +0.4%.
The investment news comes the day after bitcoin breached the $20,000 mark for the first time ever. Paxos likely played a role in cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise over the second half of the year. On October 21, PayPal announced its entry into the cryptocurrency market by integrating Paxos’ API-based crypto brokerage service and giving its 350 million customers access to bitcoin and a handful of other cryptocurrencies.
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PayPal’s embrace of crypto coincided with bitcoin’s rally, and some analysts have even expressed the view that the online payment giant is actually fueling the spike. Earlier in July, the American division of the U.K.-based fintech firm Revolut integrated Paxos’ technology into its app, enabling the fintech’s customers in 49 U.S. states to buy, hold, and sell bitcoin and ether.
Paxos however shies away from positioning itself as a purely crypto-native venture, stating its commitment to provide infrastructure for multiple asset classes. In February, the firm facilitated what it describes as the first live application of blockchain technology for U.S. listed equities when Credit Suisse and Nomura Instinet began using the startup’s technology to settle equity trades.
Paxos Settlement Service is a private, permissioned blockchain network allowing two parties to bilaterally settle securities trades directly with each other without using a middleman. In September, French banking giant Societe Generale became the third broker-dealer utilizing the service. To date, 15,000 trades worth approximately $75 million have been settled on the platform.
On December 8, Paxos filed an application for a national trust bank charter with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a regulatory agency that supervises banks and branches and agencies of foreign banks. If granted, Paxos could become the first custodian of digital assets to be regulated at both the state and federal levels. In 2015, it obtained a trust charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to become one of the first regulated companies in the state to offer crypto products and services. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.
I report on cryptocurrencies and emerging use cases of blockchain. Born and raised in Russia, I graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi with a degree in economics and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where I focused on data and business reporting.
The partnership announcement between the payments giant PayPal and the issuer of the major stablecoin Paxos Standard Token (PAX) might reportedly be made this week. PayPal is planning to bring crypto trading to its user base and has chosen New York-based Paxos to handle the new service’s supply of digital assets, reported CoinDesk, citing “two people familiar with the matter.”As for which cryptoassets PayPal would include in its rumored crypto trading option is not yet known and might be revealed with the official announcement of the partnership itself.
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