From Miami to the moon: ‘PayPal for crypto’ startup raises $555M Series A

Despite the increasing interest in crypto, friction remains a major issue: onboarding new users onto platforms, converting fiat into digital tender, and securely managing digital assets.

One Miami-based startup is acutely aware of this idea of friction and is working to break down barriers for the crypto curious. 

MoonPay, which has developed a platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, has just announced a $555 million Series A round led by Tiger Global Management and Coatue with participation from Blossom Capital, Thrive Capital, Paradigm, and NEA. This funding brings the company’s valuation to $3.4 billion.

Since being founded in 2018, MoonPay reports that it has processed more than $2 billion in transactions and built a customer base of more than seven million users. Its platform supports 30 fiat currencies and more than 90 cryptocurrencies. The startup already has an impressive roster of clients including Bitcoin.com and TrustWallet.

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This funding will be used to make strategic hires, expand the markets in which they operate, and increase the number of payment methods they accept. In an interview with CoinDesk, Ivan Soto-Wright, MoonPay’s co-founder and CEO, noted that the company will also be looking at mergers and acquisitions to further catalyze growth.

“There are companies that can help us move faster in certain geographies or help improve certain components of the infrastructure stack,” said Soto-Wright. “We want to bring a billion people into the crypto economy by 2030. We can do that faster by partnering with other companies.” In an interview with CNBC, Soto-Wright also expressed ambitions for MoonPay to eventually become a public company.

One of the major benefits of MoonPay’s platform is that it deals with two crucial compliance processes: Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations. This enables third party platforms to more easily accept cryptocurrency payments safely, securely, and legally. The advantage from the perspective of consumers is that they do not have to go through these time consuming processes every time they want to use a different platform.

Kris Fredrickson, managing partner at Coatue, underscored this problem in a statement: “We are excited about the opportunity in crypto, but one of the challenges to mainstream adoption is offering the same seamless experience that users have come to expect from modern internet products.” He said that MoonPay “impressed them with its product, infrastructure, and execution” and that “MoonPay is well-positioned to serve crypto-native innovators and those in traditional finance.”

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Soto-Wright signaled that the startup is doubling down on the NFT marketplace: “The next stage of where we’re going is really trying to focus on a new emerging movement around NFTs, which we think are going to be a very big area where more and more people will be onboarded into the crypto economy.”

MoonPay is already making waves in the NFT space, counting #MiamiTech NFT staple OpenSea as one of its clients. The startup also has a place in the NFT zeitgeist. In a recently-released music video for “One Right Now,” a collaboration between Post Malone and The Weeknd, Malone can be seen purchasing an NFT from Bored Ape Yacht Club using MoonPay’s platform.

Miami is increasingly a crypto capital. This past June’s crypto conference garnered international press for the President of El Salvador’s announcement of the country’s adoption of Bitcoin. Next week, Miami will host NFT BZL as part of Art Week.

Source: Refresh Miami