The price of bitcoin is going bananas. It exploded by around 20% since Monday and blew way past old price records (see This Week In Data, below).
It’s hard to say whether this is a bitcoin bubble stretching to the breaking point or just the start.
But why should you care?
Since it was invented in 2008, bitcoin — and the blockchain tech powering it — has been able to weather a lot of topsy-turviness. This includes price volatility, feuding among bitcoin developers, and even “hard forks” in its code.
Think of blockchains as tamper-proof distributed databases to which no central entity holds the keys.
That's a very useful thing, and blockchain is emerging as basic rails for a new generation of tech-enabled applications, much as the internet did in the mid-1990s. Bitcoin's resilience is a vote of confidence for this trend. So is the rise of Ethereum, another cryptocurrency running on its own blockchain.
Since January 2016, Ethereum’s market cap has increased from $78M to near $30B today. Meanwhile, over 250 blockchain teams have completed initial coin offerings (ICOs) since January 2016, with more than 55% of them raising in the last four months. Dollars raised by these ICOs surpassed total funding raised via traditional equity funding for the first time in Q2’17. This trend continued in Q3’17.
Next week, we'll be unveiling our new Blockchain Investment In Review report, which takes a data-driven look at venture, corporate, and ICO investment trends over time, and offers some insights into blockchain’s immediate future. Be on the lookout for the report and our webinar covering it.
Have a great weekend.
This week in data:
- 2,645: Global deal activity to startups increased 3% in Q3’17, as $42B was invested across 2,645 deals. This represents a 4% decrease in total funding over Q2’17, but remains 47% greater than what was seen in Q1’17. Read about this and more in our Q3’17 MoneyTree report with PwC, where we also dive into new unicorn births across the globe.
- $5,000: This week, the largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin passed the $5,000-per-coin price to hit an all-time high. And it kept climbing. Early today, it was trading above $5,800. To put that in perspective, Bitcoin started the year at ~$1,000. This despite public skepticism from financial titans such as Ray Dalio and Jamie Dimon around Bitcoin’s future as an asset.
- $1B: AR headset startup Magic Leap, which still has not released a product or even a public demo unit, is looking to raise up to $1B in a Series D round, according to a regulatory filing unearthed by CB Insights. To date, the unicorn has raised $1.4B in total disclosed funding and was last valued at around $3.68B. The company can be found in our AR/VR stack, which looks at over 110 startups working across the AR/VR space.
- $210M: This week, Vertex Ventures — the venture capital arm of Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings— closed its third fund for Southeast Asia at $210M, exceeding its target of $150M. It plans to make early-stage investments mostly in the hot Southeast Asia region, where it was an early investor in ride-hailing unicorn Grab. We put together a list of 10 investors that have raised funds specifically focused on Southeast Asia, including Insignia Venture Partners and 500 Startups.
- 13: Relay Media, developer of a technology that helps convert webpages to AMP format, has been acquired by Google. In addition, Google will be acquiring the team at 60dB, a provider of personalized short-form audio stories. This brings Google to a total of 13 acquisitions in 2017, as seen on our real-time Google Acquisitions Tracker. We also looked at Google's top acquisitions here.
- $1.5B: Unicorn company TuJia, an online vacation rental services startup in China, raised $300M in Series E financing from All-Stars Investment, China Renaissance Capital Investment, Ctrip, G Street Capital, and Glade Brook Capital, among others. The round brings TuJia’s total disclosed funding to $763.7M, making it the 3rd most well-funded VC-backed travel tech company.
- 324: Airbnb partnered with Florida developer Newguard to develop Niido, a concept apartment building designed for rentals and home sharing. The 324-unit building will be constructed in Kissimmee, Florida in Q1’18. Renters will be able to offer up their homes on Airbnb for up to almost half year, and Newguard will take a percentage cut from each deal. Valued at $29B, Airbnb is one of over 95 travel tech startups on our market map, under our home sharing and rental category.
- $353M: Meal kit unicorn HelloFresh revealed its plan to go public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The company plans on raising $353M in its IPO at a valuation of around $1.8B — which would be a down exit since it is less than the $2.1B valuation it saw last year. We previously compared the private market valuation histories of Blue Apron and HelloFresh.
- $21M: Smart home solutions company Brilliant raised $21M in Series A financing from August Capital, Box Group, Miramar Venture Partners, and Stanford-StartX Fund. There have been at least 34 deals to private VC-backed smart home companies in 2017 year-to-date. Our smart home market map looks at 60 startups working across energy & utilities, smart locks, cybersecurity, health & wellness, and more.
- 35,000: Last year, Tesla announced its Autopilot 2.0 hardware, comprised of “Enhanced Autopilot” and “Fully Self-Driving Capability” packages. More than 35,000 customers have purchased Tesla’s “Fully Self-Driving Capability” package — according to Electrek — without a known release date or certainty of regulatory approval. Tesla is one of at least 44 corporations working on autonomous vehicles.
- 43 kg: The amount of gold from gold refineries that passes through Switzerland’s wastewater every year, estimated this week by scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. The total amount that passes through is worth about $1.8M. In the same study, the institute revealed that about 3,000 kilograms of silver end up in wastewater, worth approximately $1.7M. Much of this is attributed to residue from chemical and medical industries.