Funding Wrap: Funding sees first quarterly increase since Q1 2022

Plus, investors remain interested in bitcoin miners and a layer-1 raises significant funding

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Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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After a year and a half of decline, crypto venture funding finally turned around this quarter. Publicly available data shows crypto startups raised roughly $3.1 billion in Q4, up from $2.1 billion in Q2 and $1.7 billion in Q3. 

As prices fell, interest rates rose. The fallout from a turbulent 2022 carried on, with venture interest muted in mid-2023. A Galaxy report showed crypto’s Q3 funding was the sector’s lowest since 2020. The Q4 figures move crypto funding numbers closer to where they were in the first quarter of 2023, when $3.3 billion flowed into crypto firms.

Read more: Crypto VC challenges persist, but Q3 brings hope with $1B raised

As crypto markets went on a late-year surge, initially spurred by bullish sentiment surrounding bitcoin, hefty funding rounds came back in vogue. Developer platform Wormhole raised $225 million at a $2.5 billion valuation. Blockchain.com raised a $110 million Series E. Multiple firms focused on bitcoin mining and trading announced noteworthy rounds. 

Read more: Blockchain.com to expand workforce by 25%, hires new SVP

VCs have more dry powder to deploy, though when the funds will show up in raises remains an open question. Capital raised by venture funds increased in Q3 for the first time since 2022, Galaxy said. Lightspeed Faction launched in November with $285 million in funding. A16z is reportedly planning to raise new crypto vehicles — but not until 2025. 

It’s also important to note that data on venture raises is not entirely precise: Projects may wait to announce their raises after funds have already been committed for strategic reasons. 

Investors still not done with bitcoin mining firms

Crypto mining firms have been the story of December fundraising as bitcoin Ordinals drive up the fees paid to miners and bitcoin looks to close out the year up over 150%. 

This week, Australian mining firm Arkon Energy raised $110 million in a round led by Bluesky Capital. $80 million of the funds will go toward expansion in the US. 

Stronghold Digital Mining, which powers its Pennsylvania bitcoin mining facilities with coal mining waste, raised $15 million via a private sale of its stock with an institutional investor. Hive Digital announced a roughly $22 million private financing deal with Stifel Canada and Canaccord Genuity. 

In a press release, Hive said it anticipates being able to hold all of its bitcoin until the upcoming bitcoin halving, when rewards paid to miners will be cut in half, which is currently slated for April 2024. 

Other notable fundraises

  • The distributed ledger technology-focused layer-1 Grape raised $35 million from LDA Capital. Some of the funds will go toward exchange listings and buying back Grape’s GRP token.
  • The decentralized storage platform CESS announced an $8 million Series A with participation from HTX Venture, Infinity Ventures Crypto, DWF Labs, Mentha Partners, Vespertine Capital, IGG Capital, Singchain Investment, 7 O’Clock Capital, SolrDAO, FishDAO and Winkrypto.

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