At the time of writing, the cryptocurrency sector is collectively worth $1.6 trillion. However, that figure represents the aggregate value of all digital assets. The companies building these assets or new tools on existing blockchains have been raising capital too. In fact, venture capitalists and angel investors have poured billions into crypto startups over the past decade.
Here are some of the most well-funded crypto startups in 2021.
Nine-year old cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase earns the distinction as the most well-funded crypto company in the industry and the only one to be publicly-listed thus far. At the time of writing, the company’s market capitalization is $49.4 billion, which puts it on par with household names such as Ebay and HP Inc.
Rival cryptocurrency exchange Kraken could join the public markets soon. The San Francisco-based company has raised $118.5 million through 12 investors over 9 funding rounds. Now, the team has filed to go public at a potential $4 billion valuation.
Boston-based Circle was created to deploy an Ethereum-based stablecoin called USDC. The company has partnered with Coinbase and several other major crypto institutions to govern the USDC protocol through a membership-based consortium called Centre. Meanwhile, Circle allows users in the U.S. to use mainstream credit or debit cards to buy USDC, earn a yield on the digital assets and deploy crypto-based payment solutions.
Circle has raised $711 million over four funding rounds that have included major investors such as Fidelity, a16z and Goldman Sachs.
San Francisco-based Compound allows developers to “unlock a universe of open financial applications.” In other words, it lets devs build applications on smart contracts that offer interest on digital assets – otherwise known as decentralized finance or DeFi.
Founded in 2017, the company has already attracted $33.2 million in total funding from heavyweight investors such as Bain Capital and a16z. That makes it one of the most well-funded projects in the DeFi space.
The Chia Network is a new blockchain and smart transaction platform built to be more user-friendly than traditional platforms. Created by Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, the network uses a unique programming language called Chialisp. It also replaces the traditional Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake consensus models for less energy-intensive Proofs of Space and Time frameworks.
Chia is, perhaps, the youngest startup on this list. It was launched in 2017 but its platform went live this year. The team has raised $69.7 million in funding from investors including Naval Ravikant and TrueVentures.
The boom in digital asset valuations last year was led by the introduction of a new asset type: non-fungible tokens or NFTs. OpenSea is one of the first NFT marketplaces to emerge from the boom. However, the company’s most well-known projects, including CryptoKitties and Decentraland, date back to the crypto boom of 2017. The company has raised $27 million from investors including a16z, Naval Ravikant, Mark Cuban, Alexis Ohanian, Dylan Field and Linda Xie.