Crypto payments infrastructure firm Merge raises $9.5m

The fresh capital will help the start-up bridge the gap between fiat and crypto payments

Representation of a golden bitcoin lying flat on a $100 bill                                 
Led by former PayPal executive Kebbie Sebastian, Merge will use the funding to develop its banking and payments platform – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

A London-based crypto firm that wants to bridge the gap between fiat and crypto payments has raised $9.5m in a seed funding round led by venture capital firm Octopus Ventures.

Merge, which is led by former PayPal and Barclays executive Kebbie Sebastian, said it plans to use the new capital to help develop its application programming interface (API) based banking and payments platform and tap into the booming Web 3.0 payments ecosystem.

The company confirmed the seed round in a blog post, explaining that it will use the funding to “provide a seamless way for crypto and Web 3.0 companies to hold and transfer fiat funds, convert between fiat and crypto as well as manage compliance, all within its simple to integrate API.”

Crypto moves further into the mainstream

Hashed, Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research and Ethereal Ventures all participated in the investment round, alongside a series of angel investors including the founder of Aave, CEO of Ledger and the co-founder of Polygon among other notable investors.

Zihao Xu, an investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “As the crypto economy moves further into the mainstream, it’s increasingly clear that the current financial infrastructure isn’t fit to serve the rapid expansion of crypto-native businesses and many providers aren’t specialised enough to gauge risk. 

“Merge’s vision is to build the infrastructure necessary to allow crypto businesses to operate without fear of shutdown by regulators or third-party risk teams. We’re excited to back them as they build that and, ultimately, unleash even more innovation in crypto and [decentralised finance] DeFi.” 

Web 3.0 economy a ‘$1trillion market opportunity’

Despite current volatility and the overall sense of uncertaininty within the crypto sector, the Web 3.0 economy is estimated to represent a $1trn market opportunity, with investors continuing to pour millions into backing innovative startups.

An example of an investor capatalising on this trend is Andreessen Horowitz, which through its a16z crypto investment arm recently announced a fourth crypto fund with a total investment pot of $4.5bn. 

The new fund will see $1.5bn dedicated to seed investments, while $3bn would go to venture investments – bringing a16z’s total crypto and Web 3.0 funds to more than $7.6bn. Chris Dixon, who leads the a16z crypto unit, said: “We think we are now entering the golden era of Web 3.0.”

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