JP Morgan, Mastercard, UBS inject $65m in blockchain firm ConsenSys

Brooklyn-headquartered blockchain technology firm ConsenSys raised $65m from major banks and financial services players including JP Morgan, Mastercard Inc and UBS Group AG to fund its growth and global expansion.

Other investors who participated in the funding round include blockchain companies Protocol Labs, the Maker Foundation, Fenbushi and The LAO.

The funding comes after ConsenSys acquired JPMorgan’s blockchain unit Quorum in August last year where the bank also made a strategic investment in ConsenSys. The firm also has an enterprise blockchain consulting arm and the ConsenSys Mesh investment arm, which holds tokens in numerous blockchain startups.

The firm aims to build an enterprise-grade infrastructure around Ethereum where DeFi and other blockchain applications can work together, therefore, making institutionalised DeFi a reality.

Founded by Joe Lubin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, ConsenSys saw rapid growth during the 2017 crypto bubble, it said. The firm’s MetaMask wallet has powered almost $2bn in token swap transactions generating more than $17m in fees.

With a clientele including Microsoft Corp, Amazon Web Services, Ernst and Young and Procter & Gamble Co, ConsenSys’ protocols group is also building Central Bank Digital Currencies for six central banks, the company said.

Indeed, as banks and large corporations increasingly invest millions of dollars in blockchain-based operations, the sector is becoming more lucrative for more startups to launch, it said. In fact, firms including BNY Mellon, BlackRock Inc, PayPal and Mastercard Inc are increasingly boosting the use of cryptocurrencies for investment and payment purposes.

Commenting on the new funding, ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin said, “When we set out to raise a round, it was important to us to patiently construct a diverse cap table, consistent with our belief that similar to how the web developed, the whole economy would join the revolutionaries on a next generation protocol.”

Echoing a similar sentiment, UBS group technology head Mike Dargan added, “Our investment in ConsenSys adds proven expertise in distributed ledger technology to our UBS Next portfolio.

“This investment underscores our commitment to working with FinTechs and the broader tech ecosystem to shape the future of banking for the benefits of our clients.”

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