Chia Network Inc., a blockchain and digital currency platform founded by BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen, has more than doubled its valuation after raising $61 million from investors including Richmond Global Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.
The San Francisco-based company was valued at about $500 million in the funding round, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Breyer Capital, Slow Ventures, True Ventures, Cygni Capital, Naval Ravikant, Collab+Currency and DHVC also participated in round.
“We want to make digital currency easier to use than cash,” Gene Hoffman, Chia’s president and chief operating officer, said in an interview. He called the fresh funding “rocket fuel” for hiring and accelerating the company’s ambition to become a trading and payment system used by governments, banks and other institutions.
Hoffman said the company is looking to a traditional initial public offering as soon as this year, although a merger with the “right” special purpose acquisition company is a possibility.
“Our goal has always been to go public relatively quickly as that will significantly clarify our regulatory environment and allow customers to use currency to hedge public market volatility, which is different from other coins,” Hoffman said.
Chia calls itself eco-friendly, saying its operations are less energy-intensive than traditional mining. The firm is is now the largest storage-related blockchain, nearly double Filecoin, Hoffman said.
Richmond Global Ventures managing partner David Frazee said the Chia coin is auditable, secure and regulatorily compliant, making it user-friendly for monetary authorities and multinationals.
“Chia is what Bitcoin would look like if it was designed with knowledge from the last 13 years,” he said. Frazee is joining Chia’s board and personally invested in the company in 2018.