SINGAPOREAN state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte was among investors in a funding round that valued cryptocurrency-trading platform Amber Group at $3 billion, just weeks after the city-state cracked down on marketing by crypto firms.
Existing shareholders including Sequoia China, Pantera Capital and Tiger Global Management also took part in the $200 million financing, Singapore-based Amber said in a statement Tuesday. The company, founded in 2018 by five former Morgan Stanley traders, has seen its valuation triple since mid-2021.
Singapore is one of Asia’s hottest markets for crypto startups, and Temasek and its subsidiaries have made several investments in the sector in the past year. Amber extended its Series B funding round, originally announced in June, specifically to bring Temasek in as an investor, said Chief Executive Officer Michael Wu.
“They are very strategic, so we made this special effort to bring them in,” Wu said in an interview.
Amber will use the proceeds for hiring in Europe and the Americas and expanding coverage of a mobile application it launched last year globally, according to the statement.
Wu said Amber may pursue another funding round later this year ahead of an initial public offering that could take place as early as the second half of 2023, most likely in the U.S.
The deal comes as Singapore is trying to clamp down on the more speculative aspects of crypto while at the same time encouraging institutional participation. In January, the central bank told companies in the industry to sharply limit marketing geared toward the general public, citing the risk of volatile digital tokens.
Some 180 companies have applied for permits to operate a regulated cryptocurrency business in the wealthiest Southeastern Asia country; as of January, just five had gotten in-principle approvals. Amber declined to comment on whether it has applied for a license.
Senior executives including Wu have relocated to Singapore from Hong Kong over the past few months, underscoring the city-state’s emergence as a hub for the crypto industry. In September, Amber said it hired former executives from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to help bolster its expansion.