SoftBank bets on crypto analytics firm Elliptic in $60 million funding round

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FILE PHOTO: SoftBank Corp's logo is pictured at a news conference in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: SoftBank Corp’s logo is pictured at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

October 11, 2021

By Tom Wilson

LONDON (Reuters) – Cryptocurrency researcher Elliptic has raised $60 million from investors including SoftBank and Wells Fargo’s venture capital arm, the startup said on Monday, as more mainstream investors bet on the blockchain analytics sector.

With larger investors warming to crypto and other digital assets, blockchain analysis firms are in high demand, with regulatory scrutiny growing on a sector fraught with compliance headaches from hacking to the illegal use of digital tokens.

Mastercard last month bought U.S. researcher CipherTrace for an undisclosed sum, to help businesses get a handle on risks and compliance in the fast-growing crypto sector.

And in June, U.S. blockchain data platform Chainalysis said it had raised $100 million at a valuation of $4.2 billion, aiming to widen its coverage of crypto assets.

London-based Elliptic said the Series C round was led by Evolution Equity, with SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital investing for the first time. Other investors include Japan’s SBI Group, Elliptic said in a statement, without disclosing its valuation.

The investment by SoftBank was its latest in the crypto space. Last month it led a $680 million funding round by blockchain-based fantasy soccer game Sorare, and also led a $155 million round for blockchain firm Blockdaemon.

In July, the Japanese conglomerate also invested $200 million in Mercado Bitcoin, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Latin America.

“What we’re doing is just really fundamental to the growth of the crypto ecosystem and mainstream adoption,” Elliptic CEO Simone Maini told Reuters.

“Without really robust basic insights and tooling that can help facilitate financial crime, protection and risk management, it’s really hard for these businesses to be able to embrace the opportunity.”

Elliptic, established in 2013, tracks the movement of cryptocurrencies on blockchain – the technology underpinning them – to help financial crime compliance.

It plans to invest in its global network and team, as well as continuing research and development, it said.

Elliptic’s clients include traditional financial firms, fintech and crypto companies, as well as government agencies. Two-thirds of crypto volume worldwide passes through exchanges that use the firm’s software, it said.

(Reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Mark Potter)

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