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Singapore-based crypto financial services provider Babel Finance has reached unicorn status after raising US$80 million in a funding round that valued the crypto financial services provider at US$2 billion.
The firm previously raised US$40 million in a Series A funding round in May 2021. This time, investors included Jeneration Capital, 10T Holdings, as well as existing shareholders Dragonfly Capital and BAI Capital. Other investors include Circle Ventures and a number of family offices in the Asia-Pacific region, an announcement on Wednesday said.
The funding will be used to expand Babel’s business globally and grow its headcount from 170 currently to 200. The firm has applied for relevant licenses in Hong Kong, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, and other countries and regions around the world.
“We’re expanding globally, not just in Singapore, aiming to expand to 200 by the end of this year. We are interested in particular the developing nations because crypto development in these places is a bit behind. In the past two years, their institutional market has grown rapidly, and will grow even faster in the future,” Del Wang, co-founder and CEO of Babel Finance, told Blockhead.
Launched in 2018, Babel started out as a lender to crypto miners in China. It since moved its operations to Singapore, where it now caters to high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors. Its other co-founder, Yang Zhou, had previously left to start his own business.
The firm, which has “a select clientele of about 500 customers” had an outstanding loan balance of more than US$3 billion, average monthly trading volume of US$800 million in derivatives, and had structured and traded more than US$20 billion in options products, as of end-2021.
According to Wang, a possible crypto bear market may present opportunities for institutional investors, who are mostly long-term investors. “We believe that cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology have the potential to revolutionize finance. But as with any new technology, cryptocurrencies will have to earn trust among investors and regulators as an asset class and win its place in the broader financial system,” he said.
He is also expecting more regulation of cryptocurrency, and is growing its compliance team and practice to meet regulatory demand from jurisdictions in which it operates. “We see regulation as a good thing. Instead of acting as a headwind, regulation will help to instil order and codify best practices, which are good for the industry in the long run to gain trust from more traditional institutional investors.”