imToken: The $35 Billion Cryptocurrency Wallet

  • ConsensLabs, the Chinese startup that developed the very popular cryptocurrency wallet imToken, has received $10 million in funding from IDG Capital.
  • The company will use this money to fund the expansion of this app into other markets, for development of new features, and to hire additional staff.

imToken, which claims to be the world’s largest Ethereum wallet with over four million monthly active users, has announced that it has secured $10 million in Series A funding from IDG Capital

imToken was developed by a Chinese startup called ConsensLabs, founded in 2016, and based in the city of Guangzhou. It achieved instant popularity by being the first cryptocurrency wallet in China that supported the Ethereum blockchain, such that you could use it to hold any Ethereum (ERC-20) token, such as Icon (ICX) or Auger (REP).

Although version 2.0 of imToken has quite a few interesting features -- such as support for multiple blockchain, offline signing, a DApp browser, and mobile-to-mobile token swap via Tokenlon, an in-app decentralised trading platform based on both Kyber Network and 0x protocol -- what is most remarkable about imToken, is that, according to Bloomberg, its users stored $35 billion in cryptoassets there over the past year; in comparison, Coinbase, says it held just over $20 billion in cryptoassets.

Consenslabs plans to use this $10 million in three ways: 

  • to fund the launch of imToken 2.0 in other markets -- starting with South East Asia, then moving to other Asian countries such as India, South Korea, and Japan, before moving to Africa, and finally United States and the rest of the world; currently, 70% of the users are based in China;
  • for development of new features, such as support for other blockchains, merchant payments, and additional security features to handle the needs of institutional investors; and
  • to increase the number of employees to 30 (from 10 in 2017)

The company will study the local regulations of each market carefully before launching its imToken app there. Founder and CEO Ben He told Techcrunch: "Regulations are maturing quickly and as a result we’re doing our due diligence amid increasing scrutiny from local government."

In an interview with Bloomberg, He said: “We noticed very early the potential of Ethereum and focused on it to differentiate against competitors... The growth has been completely organic. We didn’t have any marketing or promotional budget.”

It must be noted that this is not IDG Capital's first investment in China -- in fact, it was the first firm to bring foreign venture capital into China -- or into the crypto space, for example, it has also invested in Coinbase and Circle.

 

Featured Image Credit: photo by "David McBee" via Pexels; licensed under "CC0"

Iran to Unveil a Central Bank Authorized Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency

An official from Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture has recently claimed the country is soon set to unveil a gold-backed cryptocurrency that’ll be mined under the central bank’s permission.

The official Shahab Javanmardi, claimed that the cryptocurrency will be mined through an agreement between the Central Bank of Iran and a consortium of private IT firms in the country. Javanmardi was quoted as saying:

The Iranian cryptocurrency is backed by gold but its function is similar to foreign rivals. The domestically encrypted money is to ease optimal use of Iranian banks’ frozen resources.

The official urged, according to local news outlet Mehr, the government to regularize the country’s cryptocurrency mining industry. The country, as covered, has been cracking down on cryptocurrency mining over the past few weeks.

In late June authorities in the country seized 1,000 bitcoin mining rigs claiming they were disrupting the electrical grid, and earlier this month a Central Bank of Iran official announced “all cryptocurrency-related activities are forbidden in Iran,” the news outlet claimed.

Earlier this year, it was revealed four Iranian banks were working with a company called Ghoghnoos to produce a cryptocurrency-based payment system. The cryptocurrency, called ‘PayMon’ is a gold-backed token based on the Stellar Lumens (XLM) network.

The cryptocurrency’s goal, according to an interview the founder of Iranian blockchain company ArzDigital did with Sputnik, is to provide a way for the country to trade around U.S.-sponsored sanctions, which have been increasing under President Trump’s administration.

The company’s founder, Hamid Reza Shaabani, added at the time details weren’t yet clear, but PayMon would be mostly traded by “special exchange offices” and that “token holders can receive gold, but the details are not clear yet.”