$60 million to expand financial services for bitcoiners

Announcing our Series B funding round, a new look and feel for our brand, and coming expansions to our product suite

First published: 04/18/2023
| Last updated: 04/18/2023
| -- min read

We’re thrilled to announce a $60 million Series B funding round led by Valor Equity Partners.

Valor has a long track record helping innovative companies reach the broader market, both inside and outside of bitcoin. They are most famous for their early investments in SpaceX & Tesla but they have demonstrated their commitment to the bitcoin ecosystem through their growth investments in BitGo, Lightning Labs, Crusoe Energy and now in Unchained.

Growing inflation, continued macroeconomic instability, and the recent failure of major US banks are exposing the underlying fragility and misaligned incentives of the traditional financial system.  Bitcoin is better positioned than ever before to become a store of value for the increasing number of investors seeking stability and growth in these uncertain times.

Unfortunately the collapse of multiple cryptocurrency companies from FTX to BlockFi has proven that investing in “blockchain” does not automatically insulate firms or investors from systemic risk. Understanding fundamentals, such as why bitcoin is distinguished from other cryptocurrencies and why holding private keys is so important, is essential for risk-conscious individuals and businesses making long-term investments.

Valor understands this, which makes them an ideal partner to lead Unchained’s Series B.

“In the midst of market chaos, Unchained has emerged as a highly trusted provider of bitcoin custody and financial services through superior technology, risk management, regulatory compliance, and client service,” said Vivek Pattipati, a Partner at Valor who will be joining Unchained’s Board of Directors. “Particularly in lending, the company has differentiated itself by minimizing risk to both the lender and the borrower, leading to resilience and an extraordinary opportunity to capture market share.”

Valor isn’t just providing funding and talking points. Their operational teams have already delivered significant value to Unchained in advance of this round and we will continue to rely on their advice and support going forward as we double-down on existing bitcoin products as well as launching new USD-denominated services for our clients to truly own their wealth.

New brand

Just in time for our fundraising announcement, we’re also excited to reveal Unchained’s new look and feel. One that is warmer, more human, yet grown from our roots in technology and security. At Unchained, bitcoin is our north star. As a company built by bitcoiners, for bitcoiners, our entire mission revolves around it. Our new logo aligns our team on what matters most and a reminder to our clients of our shared values.

Our new brand provides more range, expanding beyond the usual blue and grays, and we even get a bit nostalgic—harkening back to times when money was sounder—while still keeping one foot firmly in the future. We’ve also hidden a few Easter eggs and subtle nods to bitcoin and multisig across our refreshed website.

We believe there’s a bitcoiner born every minute – they just don’t know it yet.

New directions

Our existing bitcoin-native product suite was designed to cater to the financial needs of bitcoiners, without requiring them to surrender control of their funds. From our beginnings in 2016 we have worked to build a foundation on these principles and we’re proud of the products and services that form the bedrock of our platform:

  • Our multisig vaults combine the benefits of self-custody with the redundancy and support of a bitcoin company as a co-signer in your wallet.
  • We are the only bitcoin-lender protecting loan collateral with collaborative custody (with keys held by the borrower, Unchained, & Kingdom Trust).
  • Our trading desk uniquely allows you to buy bitcoin directly into your vault without any middleman.
  • Our retirement accounts extend the reach of collaborative custody to tax advantaged accounts.
  • Our inheritance protocol ensures that collaboration continues properly for your bitcoin through generations.

Part of our Series B funding will go towards doubling-down on this existing product suite. We’ll be tackling many long-requested features, upgrades in functionality and interoperability, and enhancements in security, automation, and account management to delight new and experienced Unchained users alike.

Collaborative custody is at the heart of all of Unchained’s products but many new bitcoin investors, especially high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), family offices, and institutions aren’t yet ready to hold their own keys. A new focus for Unchained will be enabling such clients to use collaborative custody by delegating control among a combination of Unchained, Kingdom Trust, and other financial services companies on their own terms. Investors wary of counterparty risk can have the benefits of full-reserve bitcoin custody without the security and compliance implications of managing a key themselves. It is our belief and hope that beginning their bitcoin journey with a collaborative custody model will accelerate new investors’ adoption of self-custody.

New and seasoned bitcoin investors alike are here because we believe bitcoin will one day become the global reserve currency and displace the dollar. But we also know that such a massive change takes years and decades. In the interim, bridges between USD and BTC, such as Unchained’s credit and trading products, are extremely valuable. Part of our Series B investment will go towards strengthening these bridges through new dollar-focused products such as checking accounts, credit cards, and others.

Many of our clients say that Unchained is their favorite and most trusted financial partner – that’s why they choose to collaboratively custody their bitcoin with us, after all! We believe that offering traditional dollar-denominated products will further benefit our clients by allowing them to manage their traditional assets with the same high product and service standards we deliver for their bitcoin.

A checking account made by a bitcoin company can do more than just display your spending in sats or offer you some modest yield paid in bitcoin. Imagine instead authenticating a large wire transfer by signing a message with your private keys, just as you do with bitcoin. Consider how much more confident you would be in your estate or business continuity plan if the same bank could handle transferring dollars, securities, and your bitcoin—without compromising on the security of the bitcoin.

By offering traditional USD banking options, to complement our BTC product suite, we’re taking the learnings and capabilities we developed in bitcoin and using them to improve and disrupt existing USD banking—all without putting anything on a blockchain.

We need your help!

While we’re excited by the progress we’ve made in 2023, we’re also humbled. Bitcoin is still small, and Unchained is still early. But the financial sector is also at an inflection point. People are actively looking for the security and peace of mind that Unchained clients enjoy by holding bitcoin safely.

Our Series B gives us the resources we need to ensure that the next wave of bitcoin adoption goes directly to collaborative custody instead of traditional custodians.

But we can’t achieve this on our own. We need people passionate about bitcoin to help us educate & support clients, build great products, and ensure our company continues to survive far into the future of bitcoin. We’re hiring, so please take a look at our open roles.

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