Bitmain, the cryptocurrency industry’s most valuable company, has just opened an office in Silicon Valley ahead of its planned initial public offering (IPO) later this year.
The Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that the China-based cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer has just moved into 20,000 square feet of office space in downtown San Jose, CA, filling the last vacancy in the city’s Riverpark Towers office building, which has become a hub for tech startups including Okta, Cohesity, and WeWork.
Bitmain’s expansion into Silicon Valley is not entirely surprising. The firm is now valued at $12 billion following the conclusion of last month’s $400 million funding round, making it not only the most valuable cryptocurrency company but also one of the world’s most valuable privately-held tech startups. According to reports, the firm believes it could achieve a valuation as high as $40 billion after going public in the near future.
And though decentralization may be the mantra of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, companies in the industry have still tended to center themselves around the same geographic locations as the wider tech industry.
In this case, though, the expansion may be designed to help Bitmain better manage its burgeoning digital empire. The company has been making a targeted expansion into North America, in part due to the industry’s uncertain future in China, opening mining centers in both Washington state and Quebec.
Bitmain has also begun making major investments in other tech startups, and a move into Silicon Valley would naturally benefit the firm’s VC arm.
Bitmain led a $110 million funding round for cryptocurrency startup Circle, which operates a cryptocurrency trading desk, exchange, and investing app. The company is also planning to create a USD-pegged “stablecoin.”
More recently, Bitmain invested $50 million in the Opera web browser, obtaining a controlling stake in the company. Though niche in Western markets, Opera is widely used in Africa, and the Norwegian firm had also acquired several mobile money platforms based on the continent. Shortly after Bitmain invested in Opera, the company announced that it would integrate a native Ethereum wallet into its web browser.
Just this week, Bitmain, along with PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, headlined a funding round for blockchain startup Block.one, the creator of the EOS cryptocurrency. The size of the funding round was not announced publicly.
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