bitFlyer, one of Japan’s largest bitcoin exchanges, has raised JPY 3 billion ($27 million) in a Series C funding round led by the Venture Labo Investment and the venture capital division of the financial services holding SBI Group, SBI Investment. This is the largest investment attracted so far by a Japanese fintech company.
The new capital brings bitFlyer’s total funding to more than $34 million over five investment rounds in the period between July 2014 and January 2016. The other investors are Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and Digital Currency Group.
According to bitFlyer’s statement, the increase in the capital will be used to further expand its cryptocurrency services and the development of blockchain development. Yuzo Kano, CEO of bitFlyer, told the CoinDesk website that the blockchain technology is the primary interest of the new investors. He also added that part of the funding would be used to double the number of the exchange’s 23 employees who are currently based in Tokyo and Luxembourg.
The new investment makes bitFlyer the second largest cryptocurrency exchange operator in the world. It also keeps its position as the largest Japanese exchange in terms of capital as of April 26. Earlier this week the Coinmarketcap website that keeps track of cryptocurrency exchange capitalization has ranked bitFlyer has ranked it the largest in Japan in terms of BTC/JPY trading volume, ahead of competitors Zaif and BTCBOX.
Earlier this week bitFlyer launched an online shop that accepts bitcoins as payment and last week has added another cryptocurrency to its trading portfolio – Ethereum.
SBI Investment is part of the SBI Group, which also includes the forex and securities broker SBI Securities, SBI Fxtrade, which offers exclusively forex trading to individual investors and subsidiaries providing insurance, banking, credit card, advisory, information and real estate services.
SBI would be the second Japanese financial services company in the past several weeks to invest in a cryptocurrency exchange, after the forex brokerage Money Partners Group announced its partnership with the Kraken bitcoin exchange in the end of March.