Monday, October 26, 2020

MUFG invests in blockchain analytics / AML firm Chainalysis

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Today MUFG Innovation Partners (MUIP) a wholly owned subsidiary of MUFG announced an investment in Chainalysis the blockchain analytics firm. The startup is a leading provider of anti-money laundering solutions in the cryptocurrency sector. Another Japanese firm, Sozo Ventures also contributed to the $6 million funding which brings the Series B round to 36 million.

MUFG intends to launch the MUFG Coin and Wallet this year. MUFG also plans to white-label its solution so that other enterprises can have their own coins. The bank has been keen to differentiate MUFG Coin from “speculative” cryptocurrencies.

In the announcement, MUFG pointed to the need for infrastructure and a regulatory compliance framework for trust.

“Chainalysis’s compliance technology is important to providing the insight and anti-money laundering controls banks need in order to establish next-generation compliance frameworks,” said Nobutake Suzuki, MUFG Innovation Partners’ President and CEO.

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“Today’s announcement signals our joint commitment to growing the cryptocurrency industry in Japan and Asia-Pacific more soundly and broadly. Further, it is our hope that this investment will lead MUFG toward forming a closer strategic relationship with Chainalysis.”

MUFG created the venture subsidiary in January of this year to forge closer relationships with fintechs. It has a Yen 20 billion ($178 million) fund, and this is the second investment following financing of Moneytree in February.

New York-based Chainalysis uses analytics and machine learning to analyze cryptocurrency transactions and has helped law enforcement agencies. It counts more than 100 financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges as clients. The startup coined the phrase KYT for Know Your Transaction.

The company raised a $16 million Series A in April 2018 and in February this year another $30 million in a Series B round led by Accel. The February funds were to contribute to opening a London office, and today’s investment will help its APAC expansion.

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