Hong Kong-based crypto firm HashKey Group attains valuation greater than $1bn after $100m funding round, in sign of digital asset optimism
Cryptocurrency trading and investment firm HashKey Group said it has raised nearly $100 million (£79m) in a Series A funding round that valued the company at more than $1bn, giving it “unicorn” status.
Unicorn companies are those with a valuation of greater than $1bn.
Hong Kong-based HashKey said on Tuesday that new and existing investors took part in the round, including institutional investors, giving it a pre-money valuation of $1.2bn.
The firm did not name participating investors, but Bloomberg reported that OKX Ventures, the investment arm of the OKX digital asset exchange, was one of the round’s lead investors. OKX and HashKey declined to comment.
HashKey, which operates the HashKey Exchange, the HashKey Capital venture capital and asset management unit and other blockchain technology services, said it would use the funding to solidify its Web3 ecosystem, diversify its licensed product offerings in Hong Kong and develop its business globally.
The group is one of two firms approved so far to serve retail investors with cryptocurrency trading offerings under a new licensing regime introduced in Hong Kong in June, as the financial centre seeks to embrace digital assets while protecting investors.
Funding into cryptocurrency start-ups slumped in 2023 after a series of high-profile scandals in the industry in 2022, including the bankruptcy of FTX and the subsequent prosecution of its leading executives.
But the price of Bitcoin and other digital assets rose in the fourth quarter on optimism over the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) imminent approval of Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which were seen as legitimising the industry and potentially bringing in billions in new investments.
HashKey attracted 15,500 registered users at the end of 2023 with daily trading volume exceeding $630m in December, the company said last month.
The exchange handled $16m in trading volume over 24 hours up to Tuesday morning, according to CoinMarketCap, compared with $14bn for market leader Binance.