Crypto start-up MoonPay hits $3.4 billion valuation as bitcoin fever reaches new heights


MoonPay CEO and co-founder Ivan Soto-Wright speaking at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, Florida.

Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Cryptocurrency start-ups have raised record funding this year.

It’s no surprise, then, that some major players in the space — from the Winklevoss twins’ virtual currency exchange Gemini to Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin’s blockchain start-up ConsenSys — announced massive new funding deals in the last week.

MoonPay, a relative newcomer, is taking the crypto mania in venture capital to new heights. The three-year-old fintech firm said Monday it has raised $555 million in its first-ever financing round. The investment, led by Tiger Global and Coatue, values the company at $3.4 billion.

Founded in 2018, Miami-based MoonPay’s software lets users buy and sell cryptocurrencies using conventional payment methods like credit cards, bank transfers or mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

It also sells its technology to other businesses including crypto website and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea, a model CEO Ivan Soto-Wright calls “crypto-as-a-service.”

Soto-Wright said the firm aims to make crypto accessible to the masses in the same way that video-conferencing tools like Zoom made it easier to make calls over the internet.

“With the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, I think right now we are still in the dial-up days,” he told CNBC in an interview.

“Eventually we will get to this place where it’s frictionless to move any amount of value around anywhere in the world, and costs move as close as possible to zero.”

‘PayPal for crypto’

Soto-Wright said he’s not worried about the competition. He described PayPal as a “walled garden” that doesn’t give users control over their assets. “We believe the future of crypto is about customers taking possession of their private keys,” passwords that grant people access to their funds, he said.

IPO ambitions

Soto-Wright said MoonPay is prepared for a potential downturn in crypto markets, adding the firm is “agnostic” on which assets it supports.

“In the same way that telecoms got disrupted by voice over IP (internet protocol), we think, over time, financial services and all these different applications will be disrupted by the blockchain,” he said.

“There’s obviously going to be volatility as the market is trying to discover what assets, what blockchains are ultimately going to get adopted.”


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