Sony Financial Ventures and investment firm NKB Group led the raise of €13 million (almost $14.5 million) in a Series A financing round for Germany based, Bitcoin (BTC) banking platform, Bitwala. They were accompanied by existing investors, Earlybird and coparion who contributed half of the funding.
It is apparently the largest crypto-related investment made in the country till date. Bitwala further explained in a statement that the raised funds will be used to expand the user base and increase staff, as well as to launch corporate Bitcoin accounts.
Launched in December 2018, Bitwala’s improved cryptocurrency service with a built-in bitcoin wallet, debit card and trading options, offers users a single bank account both for Bitcoin (BTC) and fiat currencies. The partnership with solarisBank makes this possible.
Bitwala’s co-founder and CTO, Ben Jones, said:
“Today, we are offering a bridge for both mainstream users and blockchain buffs, who want to interact with the emerging blockchain ecosystem – the growing digital economy spreading across the globe. While there is still huge upside potential, it has already been a humbling experience to see the ecosystem grow and for Bitwala to play such an important part in that.”
Since launching its banking service the firm has reportedly traded bitcoin worth over €11 million ($12.26 million). Deposits of up to €100,000 ($111,460) are protected under German deposit guarantee schemes.
Coming to Sony, the Japanese company has entered the investment sector along with venture capital firm Global Brain, which is also investing. Bitwala is the first blockchain firm Sony has funded.
Yasuhiko Yurimoto, the founder and CEO of Global Brain said,
“We share Bitwala’s vision of the future digital economy… Their smart positioning as the bridge between the conventional financial system and the blockchain promises great potential for mass adoption.”
Bitwala has done well to raise such investments given the relatively small scale. It presents itself to be targeting mainstream users along with crypto enthusiasts which is perhaps what appealed to Sony.