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Bitcoin Lender BlockFi Raises $30M in Series B Led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures

Fresh on the heels of an $18.3 million Series A funding round in August, crypto lending startup BlockFi has secured a $30 million Series B.

Announced Thursday, the new funding will help the firm expand both its product offering and geographic footprint.

“We decided to opportunistically raise the Series B to expand the balance sheet and give ourselves the ability to invest in the things we’re doing this year,” BlockFi CEO Zac Prince said in an interview.

The Series B was led by Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures with participation from repeat investors Morgan Creek Digital, PJC, Akuna Capital, CMT Digital, Winklevoss Capital and Avon Ventures. New investors included Castle Island Ventures, Purple Arch Ventures, Kenetic Capital, Arrington XRP Capital and HashKey Capital.

Having Hong Kong-based HashKey as an investor will help BlockFi expand into Singapore later this year, Prince said. While the company has been serving customers in the region, this would be its first physical presence there.

In the Asia-Pacific region, BlockFi expects to attract a lot of institutional customers, Prince said, given the number of mining companies, asset managers, exchanges and market makers that exist there. BlockFi also plans to begin attracting more retail customers in the region as it translates its site and products into local Asian languages.

In the first quarter of this year, the startup plans to develop a mobile app and the ability to send fiat wire transfers. In Q2 2020, BlockFi plans to offer Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments.

It also expects to double the size of its 75-person team by the end of 2020, Prince said.

BlockFi has been providing fiat loans with bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) collateral since the beginning of last year. In March, it launched a service offering clients interest on their crypto, which the company then loaned out to institutions. BlockFi has had to cut rates more than once because borrower supply has not been able to meet depositor demand.

The firm reports having more than $650 million in assets on its platform, a 160 percent increase from the $250 million in assets it reported in August, with a 0 percent loan loss rate.

Last month, BlockFi announced a slight reduction in yield for customers lending bitcoin and ether, caused by a more bullish crypto market.

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