Image: Unicorn, by EmreAyar, Flickr
Image: Unicorn, by EmreAyar, Flickr

Liquid, a cryptocurrency exchange platform operated by Quoine Pte. Ltd., has announced the first close of an ongoing, undisclosed Series C funding round which the company claims has brought its valuation “to over US$1 billion” and established itself as one of only two tech unicorns in Japan.

Liquid platform, Quoine

Mike Kayamori, co-founder and CEO of Quoine, told TechCrunch that the plan was to add more investors. “This round will be purely strategic. We want to get traditional, mainstream [investors] on board,” he said.

Kayamori declined to reveal exactly how much has been raised or the exact valuation of the company.

The round of funding was led by investment firm IDG Capital, with participation from Bitmain Technologies, the world’s largest manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining rigs, Liquid said on Wednesday. The company said the new capital will be used to fuel global expansion, for product development of its core trading exchange business, and to enter the security token market.

“As we enter into a new age of digital disruption in financial services, consumers are increasingly placing a higher value on digital assets and technologies they can trust and use with greater ease,” Kayamori said in a media statement.

“Our vision is to make financial services accessible to all, which means bringing more people into the digital asset space so that anyone can be a part of it. This first round of Series C funding from our two highly respected investors, IDG Capital and Bitmain, puts us in an incredibly strong position to make a global impact in 2019.”

Quoine previously raised US$20 million in venture capital from Japanese investment firms JAFCO, SBI, B Dash Ventures, Mistletoe, and ULS Group. In 2017, the company conducted an initial coin offering (ICO) which raised US$105 million.

Founded in 2014 in Japan, Quoine is a crypto startup with offices in Tokyo, Singapore, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Quoine’s Liquid product is a cryptocurrency platform promising top security and high liquidity.

Launched in September 2018, Liquid provides trading, exchange and other related services powered by blockchain technology. The Liquid roadmap includes Liquid Black, an upgraded account status with special privileges and benefits, a Liquid mobile app with full trading and exchange features, and the release of the alpha version of the Liquid Distributed Ledger.

Quoine is currently in the process of applying for a formal banking license to expand its range of services.