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"

Former Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu Resurfaces With New Crypto Startup Matrixport

  • Former Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu is a major shareholder in a new Singapore-based crypto startup.
  • Matrixport will compete with global exchanges to offer professional and institutional investor services. 

Former Bitmain CEO and bitcoin billionaire Jihan Wu has officially been tied to the launch of Matrixport, a new crypto startup that will offer over-the-counter (OTC) trading in Asia. 

Jihan Wu Major Shareholder in Matrixport

The platform, which was rumored in a series of updates last month, is being backed by Wu and a group of former Bitmain employees. Given the early reports on Matrix, anonymous sources claimed the exchange would be working closely with Bitmain’s massive mining conglomeration, leading to speculation that Wu left his former company on amicable terms. 

Matrixport is being designed as a an all-in-one exchange for OTC trading, lending and custody of crypto-assets, according to Chief Executive Officer Ge Yuesheng. The exchange made its official launch on July 8, with an unnamed source claiming it could become Asia’s "biggest over-the-counter desk and asset manager overnight.”

Ge reports the exact details of the exchange’s funding will be released at a later date. For now, it is known that Wu comprises a major shareholder, alongside Bitmain and several other global venture capital firms. The company will be based out of Singapore and already boasts a team of 100 staff members. 

The CEO elaborated on Matrixport’s relationship with Bitmain, which will reportedly be the exchange’s largest provider of crypto-assets, 

“We are closely tied to Bitmain by our origin. But because we operate in different businesses, we are partners rather than competitors.”

Bitcoin on the Rise

Compared to retail-oriented exchanges, Matrixport is being aimed at professional traders and institutional investors, making BitGo and the US-based Genesis Global Trading its primary competition. 

Matrixport is striking the market at a time when bitcoin sentiment--and pricing--is on the rise. Compared to the crypto winter of 2018, which obliterated bitcoin’s value and slashed Bitmain’s hope of an initial public offering (IPO), the next exchange may be entering at an opportunistic time. 

Ge explained the exchange plans to leverage its connection to Bitmain and fulfill the needs of Chinese crypto-miners, who have come to dominate mining pools globally. Matrixport is incorporated in jurisdictions outside of mainland China as a way to circumvent the country’s standing ban on cryptocurrency trading. 

Prior to the startup, Ge was a founding member of Bitmain alongside Jihan Wu and retains a 4 percent stake in the mining company.