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.