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Billionaire Tim Draper, others invest Series A money in crypto exchange Unocoin
Tim Draper | Photo Credit: Reuters

Unocoin Technologies Pvt Ltd, which operates an eponymous cryptocurrency exchange, has raised funding from a clutch of investors including billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper’s Draper Associates as part of a Series A funding round.

Other participants in this round so far include cryptocurrency-focussed XBTO Ventures, and 2020 Ventures, Bengaluru-based Unocoin said in a statement.

While it did not disclose the amount raised so far, it says it is targeting a $5 million (Rs 36.67 crore) fundraise in this Series A exercise, with a valuation of $20 million.

Unocoin was set up in 2013 by Sathvik Vishwanath, Sunny Ray, Abhinand Kaseti, and Harish BV. It claims to be India’s largest rupee-bitcoin trading platform and allows trading in other digital assets such as XRP, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Gold.

Other features of the platform include a Bitcoin systematic buying plan, crypto lending, and crypto interest earning.

Unocoin will use the capital it has raised so far to enhance its product infrastructure and offerings, and expand into decentralised finance. It will also implement chatbots for customer support and expand its technology team.

“The potential for widespread crypto adoption in India is massive. Many in the nation remain underserved by traditional payment systems, increasing Bitcoin’s attractiveness as an alternative currency,” Ray said.

In September 2016, the startup raised $1.5 million (Rs 10 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round led by homegrown Blume Ventures. Mumbai Angels, ah! Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Boost.vc, Bank to the Future and FundersClub also invested in that round.

This investment is the latest in an Indian crypto startup. The segment received a strong fillip from the Supreme Court in March, when it struck down a ban on transactions in the space by the Reserve Bank of India.

The ban had led to a severe fall in trade volumes and exchanges shutting their businesses.

Last month, London-based cryptocurrency-focussed neo-bank Cashaa Technologies Ltd raised $5 million (Rs 36 crore) to fuel its India expansion, among other things.

In May, CoinDCX raised $2.5 million (around Rs 18.9 crore) in funding from Polychain Capital and Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of the US-based crypto company Coinbase.

Binance Holdings Ltd and Indian startup WazirX in March jointly launched an India-focussed fund to incubate and invest in blockchain projects and startups in the country. The Blockchain for India fund has a corpus of $50 million (Rs 370 crore), said WazirX in a statement.

Binance had acquired WazirX to allow its customers to buy and sell cryptocurrency with Indian rupees on its platform.

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