RIYADH: Softbank-funded 2TM, owner of the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Latin America, has launched a venture capital unit focusing on blockchain companies around the world.
Brazil-based 2TM, valued at roughly $2.2 billion after the latest $50 million fund-raise, is the holding company of Mercado Bitcoin, with 3.2 million customers as of October 2021. During the first 10 months of the year, trade volume at the crypto exchange increased to $6.4 billion, surpassing its total for the first seven years.
The Brazilian firm raised $200 million from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. for Mercado Bitcoin in a financing round over the summer.
2TM Ventures, the firm’s new unit, has so far invested $32 million across a portfolio of 10 companies in the crypto universe, 2TM Chief Executive Roberto Dagnoni told Reuters in an interview.
“We want to be the infrastructure provider for the token economy,” Dagnoni said.
2TM Ventures seeks to become a catalyst for the new economy by supporting innovative and disruptive companies that are creating new financial applications and concepts, he said.
Investments will be made using both traditional financial instruments such as equity and convertible notes, as well as new instruments including direct purchase of tokens.
Some of 2TM’s investments include a stake in $PRINTS tokens in the Fingerprints DAO — decentralized autonomous organization — a non-fungible token curation and collection group.
2TM also led the seed round at Tropix, a marketplace for digital art NFTs, and at SL Tools, a financial market infrastructure provider that uses blockchain.
Assembly attracts $100m
Elsewhere, some of the largest Asian venture capital firms and crypto hedge funds will invest $100 million to further develop applications on a new blockchain called Assembly under the IOTA network, co-founder Dominik Schiener told Reuters in an interview.
IOTA is a distributed ledger network similar to blockchain.
Assembly will focus on decentralized finance, NFTs, and cryptocurrency games, Schiener said.
DeFi projects, facilitating crypto-denominated lending outside traditional banking, and NFTs, which are digital assets certified to be unique and not interchangeable are two of the fastest-growing crypto sectors. Many blockchain companies around the world have pivoted to cater to this space to meet increasing demand.
Assembly, a smart contract network similar to the Ethereum blockchain launched by Berlin-based research and engineering group IOTA Foundation last month, will serve as the anchor for DeFi, NFT, and gaming applications. Smart contracts are self-executing transactions whose results depend on pre-programmed inputs.
Asian investment firms led by LD Capital, Signum Capital, Huobi Ventures, UOB Venture Management, HyperChain Capital, and Du Capital have committed $100 million to funding developments in the Assembly network, Schiener said. Crypto market-maker GSR will also contribute to the $100-million investment, he added.
On the markets on Friday, bitcoin was little changed at $48,315.77 as of about 6 p.m. Riyadh time. Ethereum lost almost 5 percent to $4,030.69.