Liquid, the cryptocurrency exchange platform operated by Japanese startup Quoine, has partnered with Virtual Currency Partners (VCP), a venture capital group composed of fintech and crypto investors and entrepreneurs, to establish a jointly-owned entity called Liquid Financial USA Inc. (Liquid USA). The new company will focus on expanding Liquid’s services into the US, Quoine said on Monday. Liquid USA’s offices are located in New York, NY, and Atlanta, GA, and it is now building out its team with expectation to begin onboarding US customers by January 2020.
The launch of Liquid USA, “the culmination of hard work, strong investor backing, and deep domain knowledge,” according to Quoine, follows the company’s undisclosed Series C funding round which brought its valuation to more than US$1 billion. Quoine said it will launch its Liquid platform in the US via its holding company Liquid Group Inc., founded in March 2019.
Liquid USA’s plans call for a complete offering of Liquid’s products to the US market, subject to US regulatory approvals. Pending those regulatory approvals, Liquid USA plans to make Liquid’s native token, QASH, available for utility and trading to US customers. The company is registered as a Money Service Business with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
“The US is one of the world’s largest markets for cryptocurrency and we have received widespread expressions of interest from our community, corporate and institutional customers to serve the US market,” said Mike Kayamori, co-founder and CEO of Quoine.
Schiffman, the chairman of VCP, has over 30 years of experience in investing in high-growth companies. He served as the executive managing director of JAFCO Ventures, the US arm of leading Japan venture capital fund JAFCO, before co-founding Globespan Capital Partners.
“After nearly a year of studying the cryptocurrency space and researching a number of players, we were extremely impressed with Liquid and the strong foundation it built for itself as Japan’s first Financial Services Agency (FSA)-approved cryptocurrency exchange and one of the top 5 cryptocurrency exchanges in the world,” said Schiffman.
Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Tokyo, Quoine is a crypto startup and the operator of the Liquid crypto platform. Liquid provides trading, exchange, and related financial services powered by blockchain technology.
In 2017, Quoine raised US$105 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) to fund the development of the Liquid exchange and ecosystem. As part of the Liquid roadmap, the company is developing a range of new features and services including a distributed ledger which will allow other fintech companies to build their products and services on distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Quoine has offices in Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, and now the US, and employs more than 300 people.