Seychelles-based BitMEX is launching a venture capital (VC) arm called BitMEX Ventures, which will invest in blockchain and cryptocurrency-related projects worldwide.
BitMEX is the largest cryptocurrency derivatives exchange in the world, with daily volume consistently in excess of USD 1 billion, more than any single spot cryptocurrency exchange. There was a day when BitMEX’s volume hit BTC 1 million Bitcoins, which was USD 8 billion at the time, the all-time record for any cryptocurrency-related exchange. Traders can leverage their accounts up to 100 times and the platform collects millions of dollars in fees per day from trading and margin lending. Already, BitMEX has purchased the most expensive office space in the world; now it appears it will also be using its profits to enrich the crypto space.
Kumar Dandapani will be the Global Head of BitMEX Ventures and Maxim Wheatley will be in charge of global seed funding and partnerships. BitMEX Ventures’ first investment is Blockfolio, an app which manages cryptocurrency portfolios. BitMEX Ventures is preparing to make another investment into FRST, a cryptocurrency data technology company.
The crypto space has been waiting patiently for institutional investors; many experts believe the next big cryptocurrency rally will be sparked by an influx of institutional capital. BitMEX has grown so large that it can be considered an institutional investor and, unlike traditional institutions, it has expertise.
Other cryptocurrency companies that have launched VC arms include Coinbase, which launched in April 2018 and already has 20 companies in its portfolio. Huobi, among the top spot cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, launched Huobi Labs which has dedicated USD 1 billion for investment into blockchain startups. Likewise, Huobi’s primary competitor Binance has launched a USD 1 billion blockchain investment fund.
With the biggest crypto companies seemingly wielding significant strength in investment, the importance of institutional investors – whose funding is anticipated by some to have a huge impact – could be diluted. The potential for an internal positive feedback loop is appearing, where big companies can invest the capital needed to get startups off the ground, then some of those startups might become institutional investors with VC arms, replicating the cycle.
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