MoonPay CEO and co-founder Ivan Soto-Wright speaks at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, Florida.
Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty photos
What do Justin Bieber, Gwyneth Paltrow, Snoop Dogg and Ashton Kutcher all have in common? In addition to being celebrities on the A-list, they are among more than 60 new investors in fintech startup MoonPay.
Other famous investors include Chainsmokers, Drake, Eva Longoria, Jason Derulo, Kate Hudson, Paris Hilton, Matthew McConaughey, Mindy Kaling, Questlove and Shawn Mendes. The new investors will add $ 87 million to the previously announced $ 555 million financing round led by Tiger Global and Coatue and value MoonPay at $ 3.4 billion.
Founded in 2018, Miami-based software allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using traditional payment methods such as credit cards, bank transfers or mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
MoonPay also sells its technology to other companies, including the Bitcoin.com crypto website and the non-fungible token (NFT) of the OpenSea marketplace, a model that CEO Ivan Soto-Wright calls “crypto-as-a-service.”
NFT are digital assets that represent real things – like art, music and real estate – and can not be replicated. In recent months alone, major brands from all industries, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nike, Gucci and the National Football League, have entered NFTs into their marketing efforts.
“Many companies could open a very small portion of their traffic, but we wanted to receive significant checks from these people, because we want them to be part of this story and against product policies,” Soto-Wright told CNBC.
Especially when it comes to artists, they do not want to travel forever, so they are constantly diversifying, he said.
“Many of them have venture capital portfolios, many of them have their own independent projects and we approach them by saying ‘we can help you understand the opportunities around Web3, cryptography and metaverse,'” Soto-Wright said. “We had almost no ports. Everyone wanted to join.”
MoonPay says it has been profitable since the platform launched in 2019. The service is now used by more than 10 million customers in 160 countries.
Investors, however, have struggled to see value in digital art and are amazed at large sales, such as Beeple’s work, which sold at Christie’s for $ 69 million.
Looking ahead, the company plans to spend the money raised on new products and expansion. It also has ambitions to take the business in general.
“We hope to become a public company eventually,” Soto-Wright told CNBC in November.
However, cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile and this has affected even the most well-known players in the space. Bitcoin fell below $ 40,000 earlier this week for the first time since mid-March.
-CNBC Ryan Browne submitted this report.