Blockchain platform startup Block.one said it has closed a new funding round led by the tech billionaire Peter Thiel and Bitmain, a Chinese startup dominating the bitcoin mining industry.
The amount raised is not disclosed in the announcement on Block.one’s website. The fundraising follows an earlier round led by fintech investor Christian Angermayer, Lansdowne Investment Company Ltd. and Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz.
Founded in 2016 by Brendan Blumer and Daniel Larimer, Block.one launched an initial coin offering in June 2017, raising a record US$4 billion from investors, who received EOS tokens worthy roughly US$7 billion. The EOS token ranks fifth among cryptocurrencies by market cap, according to data from coinmarketcap.com.
The money raised in the latest funding round will be used to build a new operating platform for blockchain, similar to Microsoft’s Window operating system. The platform will support more efficient operations for decentralized applications than existing blockchain platforms like ethereum, the Block.one founders said.
PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is well known for his early bets on tech startups like Facebook, SpaceX and Airbnb. Thiel’s San Francisco-based venture capital firm, Founders Fund, was reported to be amassing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency including bitcoin in 2017.
The billionaire investor publicly backed the idea of bitcoin becoming a store of value and even said it could become a gold-like safe haven investment.
Bitmain is said to be the largest producer of chips used for mining cryptocurrencies. It was recently valued at US$12 billion, making it the world’s most valuable blockchain organization.
Jihan Wu, co-founder of Bitmain, praised the EOSIO blockchain protocol published by Block.one in the announcement. “Its performance and scalability can meet the needs of demanding consumer applications and will pave the way for mainstream blockchain adoption,” Wu said.
Other participating investors in the latest funding round include Louis Bacon and Alan Howard.
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