Blockchain.com, the largest cryptocurrency wallet provider claiming to have more than 40 million users, is raising a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in startups.
Yahoo Finance reported the news on Wednesday, citing two sources, who added that Sam Harrison of Blockchain is leading the venture fund effort.
Harrison’s LinkedIn profile shows that he joined Blockchain in July 2018 from Naspers Ventures, and that he co-founded Blockchain Ventures. Origin Protocol, Coindirect, Sliver.tv, Nodle and DappRadar are some of Blockchain Ventures’ portfolio companies.
Blockchain looks to be expanding its business lines, which could help diversify its current mainly ad-driven revenue. The firm makes “six figures a month in advertising revenue” alone from its Blockchain Explorer tool, Blockchain CEO, Peter Smith, recently told Fortune. Back in July, the firm launched a cryptocurrency exchange called The Pit, claiming to be one of the “fastest.”
While other crypto exchanges host “millisecond” matching engines, The PIT hosts a “microsecond” one, Nicole Sherrod, head of trading products at Blockchain, told The Block at the time. However, insiders said that the speed isn’t a top priority for most investors in the market.
Founded in 2011, Blockchain is backed by notable investors including Roger Ver, Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, Lakestar, and Google Ventures, among others. The firm raised $40 million in Series B in 2017, and $30.5 million in Series A funding back in 2014.
Last year, the firm also tried getting into the airdrop business, which doesn’t seem to have taken off. Blockchain partnered with Stellar Development Foundation to airdrop (free tokens) $125 million worth of Stellar lumens (XLM) to Blockchain’s customers at the time.
No other airdrop partnership has been announced by Blockchain since Stellar, even though it has a “framework for airdrops” in place, which discusses “economic and legal rationales” and provides a set of “guiding principles” for airdrop planning and execution.
Only time will tell whether launching an exchange and a VC fund will help generate more revenue and financial benefit for one of the oldest firms in the intensely competitive cryptocurrency space.