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.


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Grayscale Senior Exec Says Institutional Investment Doubled in Q2 2019

Michael LaVere
  • Grayscale senior executive Rayhaneh Sharif-Askary said institutional investment doubled in Q2 2019.
  • Institutions contributed 84 percent of the $85 million in capital acquired during the second quarter of the year. 

Despite recent research claiming that institutional interest into bitcoin and cryptoassets is waning, a senior executive at Grayscale Digital said their investment doubled during the second quarter of 2019. 

Rayhaneh Sharif-Askary, director of sales and business development at Grayscale Digital Assets, told news outlet The Block that institutional investment doubled in Q2 2019 and that new institutions are “investing with us all the time.”

According to Sharif-Askary, Grayscale raised around $85 million in the second quarter of this year, with 84 percent of the capital coming from institutional investors. The senior executive said that Grayscale products were in high demand from clients looking for “ownership of digital assets in the form of traditional securities.” 

She continued, 

I get asked this a lot; there is this rhetoric in media of when institutional investors are going to get involved, when they are gonna start investing. It’s ironic because we see institutional investors investing with us all the time and that’s been the case for a long time now.

When asked about the recent launch of bitcoin futures trading platform Bakkt, which has been viewed by many to be a disappointment, Sharif-Askary took a different angle. Rather than being dismayed by the platform’s low volume, the Grayscale exec said she was “thrilled” to see more on-ramps for institutional investors and that Grayscale's lean team “can’t be the only one running around educating investors.”

While Bakkt's launch was hailed as a potential gateway for institutional investment, the exchange has generated relatively low volume since going live in mid-September. A monthly report by Binance Research even attributed bitcoin’s price drop last month to the disappointing start for the crypto futures platform. 

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