REUTERS: Bank of New York Mellon Corp has invested in Fireblocks, a platform that allows banks and other financial institutes to store, move and issue cryptocurrencies, as the world's largest custodian bank deepens its focus on digital assets.
BNY Mellon's investment was part of a US$133 million funding round that also saw participation from hedge fund Coatue Management, investment firm Ribbit Capital, growth equity firm Stripes and SVB Capital, Fireblocks said on Thursday.
The latest round values Fireblocks at close to US$1 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. Existing investors including Paradigm, Galaxy Digital and Swisscom Ventures also participated in the round.
The cash injection by BNY Mellon comes after the bank last month joined the rush by top-tier financial services firms to bet on digital currencies such as bitcoin, saying it had formed a new unit to help clients hold, transfer and issue digital assets.
Other financial services firms, including BlackRock Inc and Mastercard, have also recently backed certain digital currencies. Morgan Stanley on Wednesday became the first big U.S. bank to offer its wealth management clients access to bitcoin funds.
Fireblocks has a presence in Europe, Asia and North America, with customers including banks, neobanks, exchanges, hedge funds and market makers.
The company has raised US$179 million in funds to date.
Fred Ehrsam, the co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, is among Fireblocks' board members.
(Reporting by Sohini Podder and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)