Binance Holdings Ltd., the operator of one of the world's largest crypto exchanges, and an Indian bitcoin exchange it acquired late last year WazirX have jointly launched an India-focused 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.
The fund seeks to invest $100,000 to $5 million in each entity. It also plans to co-invest with other venture funds in India.
Binance had acquired WazirX to allow its customers to buy and sell cryptocurrency with Indian rupees on its platform.
The investment had happened when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ban on financial institutions to break off all ties with individuals or businesses dealing in virtual currency such as bitcoin existed. The RBI had given out this order in April 2018.
However, just earlier this month, the Supreme Court struck down the RBI banking ban on cryptocurrency to allow banks to handle cryptocurrency transactions from exchanges and traders.
The launch of the blockchain fund is good news for startups.
The fund will look to invest in trading platforms, payment and remittance solutions, digital asset wallets, and decentralised finance platforms, among others.
There are a few other fintech-focused funds operating in India even as other sector-agnostic VC funds have been actively investing in the space.
Earlier this month, Quona Capital, a venture capital fund that focuses on the financial services sector in emerging economies including India, marked the final close of its second fund at $203 million.
In October last year, Varanium Capital, a boutique asset management company, marked the first close of its debut fintech-focused venture capital fund.
In September, seed-stage impact investor Accion Venture Lab said it is raising a new fintech-focused fund.
In January, US-based fintech investor Ribbit Capital, which counts Indian unicorn PolicyBazaar among its portfolio companies, floated its sixth global fund.