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Ripple Labs Raises $28 Million Series A from Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Seagate

Op-ed - Ripple Labs Raises $28 Million Series A from Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Seagate

Ripple Labs, the creator of the international payment network and digital currency Ripple (XRP), has raised a $28 million series A funding round.

The funding round featured many strategic investors including the venture arm of Chicago Mercantile Exchange & Chicago Board of Trade (CME Group Inc.), one of the largest security and future exchange operators in the United States. Other notable investors in the round are Chinese venture capital firm IDG Capital Partners and the global data storage company Seagate Technology.

Previous investors into Ripple Labs including Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Core Innovation Capital, Vast Ventures, and Venture 51 also participated in the series A.

This new infusion of capital and the strategic investors gained through this round will facilitate the growth of Ripple Labs’ digital currency payment system to new parts of the world. In addition, this funding round may allow Ripple Labs to experiment with using XRP for real time settlement in corporate finance, a new use case for the digital currency.

“Our mission is to modernize decades-old payments infrastructure with IP-based technology so value moves around the world as freely, easily, securely and transparently as information on the web today,” said Ripple Labs CEO and co-founder Chris Larsen in a statement. “Financial institutions, market makers and corporations are laying the foundation for this Internet of Value, contributing and providing liquidity for global payments. With investors like CME Group and Seagate joining the fold, we’re well positioned to accelerate adoption amongst these key customers.”

“Managing a global treasury operation and supply chain finances for one of the world’s largest high-tech storage technology companies puts us in a unique position to understand the frictions and pain points in funds transfer,” said Dave Morton, Senior Vice President of finance and treasury at Seagate Technology. “With its real-time settlement capabilities, we recognize the opportunity for Ripple to reduce money transfer costs, create transparency, and increase working capital in corporate treasury use cases.”

Rumi Morales, executive director of the Strategic Investment Group at CME Group, added, “Ripple is transforming global settlement architecture, and its momentum in payments will give way to an expanding portfolio of use cases in the financial markets. Joining this funding round is another example of how we are investing in technologies that impact our industry.”

Ripple Labs has already partnered with several financial institutions, including cross-border payment platform Earthport, Fidor Bank, Cross River Bank and CBW Bank.

Growing Ripple’s Presence In Asia

Last month, Ripple Labs open its first Asia Pacific offices in Sydney, Australia and hired payment industry veteran Dilip Rao, to lead the company’s effort in the region. According to the company, this move was intended to meet a “growing demand” for the payment network in Asia and marked the beginning of an increased interest in the region.

IDG Capital Ventures, which was an early investor in Chinese consumer internet giants Baidu, Tencent, Xiaomi and CreditEasel, will help the digital currency company grow its presence in China. China has been a hotbed of digital currency activity and is home to many large exchanges and mining companies. Li Feng, a partner at IDG Capital Ventures, will also join Ripple Labs’ board of directors.

“We are excited to build on our relationship with Ripple Labs, especially as they expand their presence in Asia,” said Feng. “Growing their influence in key regions like Asia will help activate new markets, further accelerating the use of Ripple as a real-time settlement protocol by the world’s leading financial institutions.”

IDG Capital Ventures recently co-led the funding round of Bitcoin financial services startup Circle along with Goldman Sachs. The venture firm will also help Circle enter the large Chinese markets.