Today Ethereum development house ConsenSys announced a $450 million Series D funding round at a $7 billion valuation, less than four months after closing a $200 million raise. The blockchain investment was led by ParaFi Capital, with new investors such as Temasek, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Microsoft, Anthos Capital, Sound Ventures, and C Ventures.
Although ConsenSys acquired the Quorum enterprise blockchain from JP Morgan and consults on central bank digital currency projects, the company’s primary focus is to create tools and infrastructure to promote the development of the ecosystem around the public Ethereum blockchain.
It owns the most popular cryptocurrency wallet, Metamask, which had 30 million Monthly Active Users in January, a growth of 42% in four months. It also operates Infura that provides infrastructure tools to make it easier to develop Ethereum applications and is used by 430,000 developers.
The reach of these two services is so significant that there was some controversy when it appeared to block access to Venezuela earlier this month. Given blockchains are meant to be decentralized, there was pushback from the Ethereum community. It turned out that blocking Venezuela was a mistake, but Infrura intentionally prevented access for two separtist regions in Ukraine for sanctions purposes.
As the MetaMask wallet uses Infrura by default, as do many other services, there was the impression that these restrictions were at the MetaMask level. And many more people became aware of degree of centralization created by infrastructures such as Infrura.
MetaMask and Infrura may be the most high profile ConsenSys products but the commpany has many others across tokenization, DeFi, NFTs, scaling solutions and more.
ConsenSys founder and CEO Joe Lubin wants venture investors to supply funds to ConsenSys using ETH cryptocurrency rather than fiat. “This round takes in digital assets as well as fiat and converts immediately to ETH. Next round will be our ‘Series ETH’ where we will assist investors in getting fully crypto native to contribute ETH as a symbol of and commitment to the ongoing paradigm shift,” said Lubin.
Indeed, the crypto environment has changed significantly in the last 18 months. Less than two years ago, the company went through a third round of layoffs shortly after COVID hit. As a founder of Ethereum, Lubin funded ConsenSys with ETH that was worth less than $150 in April 2020. That compares to $2,600 now and more than $4,600 at its recent peak in November.
ConsenSys currently employs 700 people with plans to expand that to 1,000 this year.
Meanwhile, existing investors that also participated in this Series D included Third Point, Marshall Wace, TRUE Capital Management, and UTA VC. Previous rounds featured JP Morgan, HSBC, Mastercard, UBS and Animoca Brands.