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Coinbase Becomes First Bitcoin Based ‘Unicorn’ Startup

Becoming a $1 billion startup and attaining the “unicorn” prefix is on the vision board of almost every startup. But, it takes a lot of hard work and determination to achieve this feat and enter the Magna cum laude club for startups.

San Francisco-based Coinbase has recently become the first Bitcoin startup to enter the unicorn startup club after it successfully raised a whopping $100 million at a private valuation of $1.6 billion that includes the capital raised. The investment round saw the participation of Draper Associates, Greylock Partners, Battery Ventures, Section 32 and Spark Capital, and was led by venture capital firm Institutional Venture Partners.

Starting its journey in 2012, Coinbase achieved its unicorn status in just five years. During its half a decade journey, the startup which began as a simple Bitcoin wallet service has progressed on and ventured into brokerage space, opening online exchanges where traders can sell or swap crypto coins.

In previous funding rounds, the startup, which claims to have served over 9.2 M customers across 32 countries, had raised $117 million at a private valuation of about $500 million. This figure alone had made Coinbase the third most well financed Bitcoin startup in the world, after Circle and 21. And now, with its latest funding round and achieving the Unicorn startup feat, there’s no stopping Coinbase when it comes to the Bitcoin space.

So far 2017 has proven to be an exceptional one for cryptocurrencies. The year saw Bitcoin making a comeback in big way and Ethereum, a rival cryptocurrency network, going down the slope. Bitcoin is currently trading at more than $3,400 per Bitcoin, a figure which is well above its previous 2013 highs in the $900 range.

According to Fortune, the total market value for cryptocurrencies and tokens combined has increased from just under $20 billion at the beginning of the year to more than $120 billion in just over 7 months.

Coinbase plans to invest its newly raised money towards strengthening its engineering and customer support teams, and opening a new office in New York for its professional trading operations. It also plans on using a part of the capital for further developing its Ethereum-based messaging and wallet app, Toshi that it launched last year.

Cryptocurrencies have caught the attention of investors like never before. Investment firms like Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, anf Union Square Ventures have recently seen a spurt in activity in backing so-called crypto hedge funds, like Metastable and Polychain Capital, that primarily invest in cryptocurrencies and digital tokens. Recently, Blockchain, a London-based cryptocurrency wallet provider, raised $40 million in a round led by GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet.

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