July 18, 2024

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In a tough venture environment for crypto, here are the most notable fundraises of 2023

2 min read

From the end of 2021 into mid-2022, the money faucet for crypto projects was on full blast. Startups raised $10.7 billion in the first quarter of 2022 alone, according to Crunchbase. But that stream turned to a trickle in 2023, as crypto founders raised approximately $6.7 billion across all four quarters. 

A regulatory crackdown from the U.S. federal government, a crypto bear market, and a down year for venture capital writ large all contributed to a parched funding landscape, but the money faucet wasn’t completely turned off.

Here are the most eye-popping fundraises of 2023, from some of the largest on record to one of the most dubious.

The largest

As 2023 came to a close, Wormhole, a project that lets developers across separate blockchains communicate with each other, announced one of the year’s largest raises, according to Crunchbase’s Web3 tracker.

Finalizing its split from the market maker and VC Jump Crypto, the team behind Wormhole said that it had raised $225 million at a $2.5 billion valuation. Participants included venture capital stalwarts like Brevan Howard, Coinbase Ventures, and, of course, Jump Trading, of which Jump Crypto is an offshoot. In an interview with Fortune, Wormhole executives said that the deal was entirely for yet-to-be-released tokens, rather than equity in the company.

This was the first confirmation that Wormhole, perhaps best known for a $320 million hack of its protocol in February 2022, plans to launch a token. Shortly thereafter, LayerZero, a direct competitor and another between-blockchains messaging protocol, announced that it, too, would launch its own token.

LayerZero had also announced its own eye-popping raise of $120 million at $3 billion earlier in 2023. If 2022 saw flashy startups like Yuga Labs and OpenSea secure hundreds of millions in capital, 2023 saw some of the most boring back-end companies raise the most money.

The most dystopian

Infrastructure was arguably the crypto buzzword…

Ben Weiss

2023-12-25 06:00:00

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