South Korean internet giant Naver and Japanese advertising and PR firm Dentsu have contributed to a USD 80 million “private placement” investment in cryptocurrency and blockchain venture Bitfury.
Per a statement from Bitfury, the investment was spearheaded by former Goldman Sachs partner Mike Novogratz, and fellow contributors included Novogratz’s own Galaxy Digital, as well as European companies, such as Jabre, Lian Group, Armat Group and others.
The private placement was led by Korelya Capital, a France-based venture capital company that Naver – as well as its Japan-based subsidiary Line – has backed to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
In August, Naver, the South Korean answer to Google, invested some USD 230 million in its French subsidiary, Naver France SAS, with a view to making investments in (or buying up) promising European tech startups. Naver is also reportedly keen on launching its own cryptocurrency.
Line has been extremely active in the world of cryptocurrencies, with ambitious plans to launch its own international network of exchanges. It currently runs the Singapore-based exchange, Bitbox. The company, whose chat app enjoys enormous popularity across Asia, is now looking to secure an operating license for a proposed Japan-based exchange platform – but is currently caught up in a massive regulatory backlog.
Dentsu, meanwhile, has been keen to advance its own blockchain operations. The company earlier this year revealed that it was working on a project with the University of Tokyo and the Izumi Research Institute to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm capable of combing Twitter for posts related to price changes in the cryptocurrency market.
Meanwhile, Bitfury provides high-performance computing technologies and processing capabilities, and designs software solutions for governments and corporations to deploy real-life blockchain solutions. The company employs 700 people in 15 countries across North America, EMEA and Asia, and operates 5 data centers located in Iceland, Canada, Georgia and Norway.
According to George Kikvadze, executive vice chairman of Bitfury, revenues of the company stands at "a half billion dollars."
"This private placement will take our corporate governance to the next level, broaden our financial strategic options, and ideally position us for our next phase of growth as the market matures," Kikvadze was quoted as saying in the statement.
The news comes less than a month after South Korean gaming firm NXMH, the owner of cryptocurrency exchange platform Korbit, purchased Luxermbourg’s Bitstamp, the longest-running exchange in the world.