Crypto payments firm MoonPay valued at $3.4bn after Coatue and Tiger injection

Crypto payments startup MoonPay has been valued at $3.4bn in its first time seeking outside equity funding, as part of a $555m round led by hedge fund Coatue and Tiger Global.

Other investors included London venture capital firm Blossom Capital, NEA and Thrive. Paradigm, a $2.5bn crypto fund launched this month by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, also took part.

MoonPay, a platform that enables people to buy and sell digital assets using all major payment methods, has processed more than $2bn in transactions across 7 million users since its inception in 2019. Ivan Soto-Wright, its co-founder and chief executive, said it plans to reach a billion users by 2030.

“We’re really building backwards compatibility to the existing financial system,” Soto-Wright told Financial News. “The internet was about improving the exchange of communication. Crypto is about improving the exchange of value — and we’re early innings in the longer, larger, flourishing picture.”

Though dwarfed in comparison to the size of crypto exchanges such as FTX and Coinbase, MoonPay’s valuation is higher than that which most companies achieve at the Series A stage. However, valuations for all types of payments startups have been extremely high in recent years — London’s was valued at $15bn in January, while Stripe earned a $95bn price tag in March.

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Miami-headquartered MoonPay plans to expand its physical presence across 20 different cities in the coming year. Some of the funding will be put towards hiring, Soto-Wright said, increasing its staff from around 130 people today to 260 over the next year.

“The challenge of crypto is that it’s 24/7,” he said. “Our staff can’t sleep, we have to be operational. [But] people do need to sleep, so we need to have people across all these different time zones.”

Regulatory scrutiny of the cryptoasset sector has ramped up significantly in 2021, as businesses such as crypto exchange Binance faced more than a dozen consumer warnings globally for operating outside of watchdog guidelines.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has similarly cracked down on crypto companies operating in the country, requiring all firms to adhere to strict money laundering regulations via a temporary permissions register.

Soto-Wright said MoonPay has applied for registration as a cryptoasset business in the UK, but has yet to gain approval as the FCA wades through a large backlog of applications. MoonPay also plans to seek an electronic money licence in London, he added, a type of authorisation held by the likes of Revolut, Monese and Wise which would enable MoonPay to act like a digital bank.

“We don’t need it for our current businesses today, but we do plan to have e-money licences in Europe, the UK, Singapore — basically every major geography,” he said.

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Seeking to dismiss concerns about the hefty environmental impact of cryptocurrencies, MoonPay has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030. But the transition to remote-first working has made it more difficult to fully understand a company’s employee carbon footprint, while processing crypto transactions is a heavily energy-intensive process.

Soto-Wright said the business plans to roll out an environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy in the new year, and will soon reveal a new adviser who has been brought on board to “guide us in the right direction”.

“There are many different blockchains and different blockchains have different impacts,” he said, pointing to the more sustainable proof-of-stake networks over proof-of-work chains such as Bitcoin. “The market will ultimately decide which are the blockchains that are going to be adopted.”

MoonPay also plans to invest more cash into its management of non-fungible tokens, which are unique digital collectibles traded on blockchain networks such as Ethereum in exchange for cryptocurrencies.

The platform manages payments for OpenSea, the web’s largest marketplace for NFTs, which has similarly benefited from the spike in crypto popularity.

“NFTs are the future in a lot of ways, bringing mainstream awareness to crypto,” Soto-Wright said. “I think we’re in the early phases of ultimately defining how we can use this technology in the best way possible.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

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