New Canadian unicorn Blockstream raises $265 million

Montreal and Victoria-founded Blockstream is raising $265 million (US $210 million) in series B money. Blockstream says it is now valued at $4 billion (US $3.2 billion).

The round is being led by Scotland-based investment firm Baillie Gifford, iFinex, the parent company of stablecoin issuer Tether, and Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.

Blockstream has offices in Montreal, Victoria and Mountain View, California. It was cofounded by British ‘cryptographer’ Dr. Adam Back and a group of developers passionate about Bitcoin, including longtime Montreal investor Austin Hill.

The company says the new funding will help further its mission of building financial infrastructure on Bitcoin. It will also help fund its Bitcoin mining efforts and the acquisition of Spondoolies, to launch an enterprise-grade mine.

“We actually expect to have Blockstream-branded miners on the market in Q3 next year,” Back told Forbes.

The funding will also go towards continuing to scale Bitcoin’s first sidechain (the Liquid Network), and expanding its team.

Baillie Gifford Investment Manager Allen Farrington will join as a board observer.

“I am convinced of the potential of tokenized securities on the Liquid Network to be transformative for the architecture of capital markets,” said Farrington in a news release. “Bitcoin-based development and Blockstream’s asset issuance and management platforms can contribute to meaningfully decentralizing financial infrastructure, democratizing control over investment products, and firmly embedding openness and programmability in capital markets.”

The company raised US $21 million in seed funding in 2014, creating the Liquid Network, a Bitcoin sidechain, and c-lightning, one of the main implementations of the Lightning Network. It recently acquired the intellectual property of Spondoolies, an Israeli Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer specializing in the production of ASICs.

In 2016 Blockstream raised US $57 million in Series A money, followed by a US $11 million convertible note.

Blockstream says The Liquid Network has gone on to amass more than $1.1 billion in network value and has seen growth from venues like Hodl HodlSideSwap, and TDEX, to Tether, the leading USD stablecoin.

In June, Jack Dorsey’s Square partnered with the company to build a solar-powered Bitcoin mining facility at one of Blockstream’s sites and pledged to invest $5 million in the project.

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