A $500 million fund, C1 Fund, is actively seeking investment opportunities in the Australian cryptocurrency sector, focusing on acquiring secondary shares at discounts of up to 80%. Among the targeted companies is Animoca Brands, a blockchain-based gaming business formerly listed on the ASX. The fund, founded by ex-Coinbase lawyers and investors, is particularly interested in crypto companies with a minimum valuation of $300 million from their last funding round, preferably at Series C and later stages. C1 Fund aims to write checks ranging between $20 million and $50 million. The move comes amid renewed interest in the cryptocurrency market, with Bitcoin surpassing $40,000 for the first time in two years.
Animoca Brands, initially a $120 million company removed from the ASX in 2020, has grown into a $7.8 billion private entity. C1 Fund has reportedly offered to purchase shares at approximately $1.12, significantly lower than the last capital raise’s $4.50 valuation. Chainalysis, a US-based firm offering investigation and blockchain analysis services, is also in C1 Fund’s focus, with around $30 million of secondary preferred shares available at a 63% discount to its last valuation of $8.4 billion in 2022.
Despite the fund’s interest in freeing up cash for venture investors, local stakeholders appear hesitant to divest from crypto investments that have weathered the industry’s downturn. Local crypto exchanges, including Independent Reserve and BTC Markets, have experienced an influx of new customers following regulatory concerns around the world’s largest exchange, Binance. The potential approval of a bitcoin ETF by US regulators in January and a technical upgrade to the bitcoin network in May are cited as factors contributing to the recent recovery in crypto prices.