2014 was the biggest year yet in terms of investment into Bitcoin. The year reportedly saw a total of US$314 million invested into a variety of cryptocurrency firms, with the amount being over three times the total that was invested in the year 2013. It should be noted here that with the US$2.5m raised by Tel Aviv-based Bitcoin 2.0 startup Colu on January 27 and the US$15m raised by Stockholm-based mining firm KnCMiner on Tuesday, so far this year (it’s February 5, 2015), over a quarter of 2014’s total investment has already been invested into Bitcoin enterprises.
The investments that several digital currency companies have received thus far have been from both venture capital (VC) firms and individual investors, with investment from the former having the lion’s share.
Biggest Bitcoin Investment
The Bitcoin company that has received the most funding to date is Bitcoin wallet and exchange service Coinbase. The San Francisco, California-headquartered firm was founded by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam in June of 2012. In May 2013, the firm raised US$5m in Series A funding round, which was led by VC company Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson. In Series B, which was conducted in December 2013, Coinbase raised US$25m from VC firms Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital. In the latest funding round, which took place last month, the wallet and exchange service company secured a whopping US$75m in investments from such investors as DFJ Growth, which led the round, Andreessen Horowitz, Ribbit Capital, Union Square Ventures, the New York Stock Exchange, the United Services Automobile Association, large multinational bank BBVA, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer among several other strategic partners, including Japan’s largest telecommunications operator, NTT DoCoMo. In total, the amount that Coinbase has raised so far is US$106 million.
Biggest Bitcoin Investors and Where Are They Invested
Besides the above mentioned investors that have invested in Coinbase, biggest Bitcoin investors and Bitcoin companies where they have invested include:
|Blockchain (US$30.5m)||Lightspeed Ventures, Wicklow Capital, Mosaic Ventures, Prudence Holdings, Future Perfect Ventures, Rafael Corrales, Amit Jhawar, Nat Brown, and individual investors.|
|BitPay (US$30m)||Index Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Founders Fund, Horizons Ventures, RRE Ventures, Sir Richard Branson and TTV Capital.|
|KnCMiner (US$29m, including US$15m raised on Feb. 3, 2015)||Creandum, Accel Partners, GP Bullhound, Martin Wattin|
|Blockstream (US$21m)||LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Khosla Ventures, Real Ventures, Crypto Currency Partners, Innovation Endeavors, Future\Perfect Ventures, Mosaic Ventures, Ribbit Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Nicolas Berggruen, Max Levchin, Ray Ozzie, Danny Hillis and Embrace.|
|BitFury (US$20m)||Bill Tai, Bob Dykes, Georgian Co-Investment Fund and Lars Rasmussen.|
|Xapo (US$20m)||Index Ventures, Greylock Partners, Emergence Capital Partners, Yuri Milner, Max Levchin, Jerry Yang, Winklevoss Capital, David Marcus and Crypto Currency Partners.|
|Circle (US$17m)||Breyer Capital, Accel Partners, General Catalyst Partners, Oak Investment Partners, Pantera Capital, Bitcoin Opportunity Fund and individual investors.|
|Bitnet (US$14.5m)||Highland Capital Partners, Rakuten, James Pallotta, Stuart Peterson, Bill McKiernan, Stephens Investment Management, Bitcoin Opportunity Fund, Commerce Ventures, Webb Investment Network and Buchanan Investment.|
|BitGo (US$12m)||Redpoint Ventures, Bitcoin Opportunity Corp, Radar Partners, Liberty City Ventures, Crypto Currency Partners, A-Grade Investments, Jeffrey S Skoll, Bill Lee, Founders Fund, Eric Hahn and Bridgescale Partners.|
|OKCoin (US$10m)||Ceyuan, Mandra Capital, VenturesLab, PreAngel and individual investors.|
While Coinbase will likely be the leading Bitcoin company in terms of acquired investments when this year ends, it is also likely it will no more be the cryptocurrency firm that has received by far the most funding.
The fact that the San Francisco-based firm has attracted investments from such financial world giants as the New York Stock Exchange, Fortune 500 financial services group USAA, Spanish-based multinational bank BBVA, and Japanese telecommunications giant NTT DoCoMo, as well as such impressive individual investors as Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer suggests more big investors could possibly be attracted to the Bitcoin world and invest heavily in other promising Bitcoin companies as well.
Coinbase image courtesy of Coinbase