Crypto firm HashKey Group, which operates the Hong Kong-based HashKey Exchange, has reached "unicorn" status after raising nearly $100 million in a Series A funding round.

In an announcement, HashKey Group said that the raise had carried it to a $1.2 billion valuation—above the $1 billion "unicorn" threshold for a private company.

The company said that the newly raised capital would be used to "solidify HashKey's Web3 ecosystem, accelerate the product diversification of its licensed business in Hong Kong," and build out its global development.

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The firm did not disclose the identity of investors in the funding round, stating that they included "prominent institutional investors, leading Web3 institutions, and strategic partners." According to Bloomberg, sources familiar with the matter revealed that OKX Ventures was among the lead investors in the round.

Crypto fundraising's 2023 slump

Crypto fundraising tumbled in 2023, with just $1.98 billion invested across 376 deals in the third quarter of the year, according to Galaxy Research—numbers not seen since Q4 2020. The ongoing crypto bear market and VC interest shifting to AI were cited as reasons behind the decline, though other factors were also at play.

"Crypto projects just aren’t announcing their rounds," Kavita Gupta, founder of Delta Blockchain Fund, told Decrypt in late 2023, suggesting that it was contributing to a perception that VC interest in the sector was drying up.

HashKey's announcement follows the introduction of a new crypto regulatory regime in Hong Kong in June 2023; HashKey Exchange is one of two exchanges licensed to operate in Hong Kong.

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