Blockchain businesses are still attracting new money.
A new report by European Web 3.0 venture capital firm Outlier Ventures says that during the first half of this year, some $822 million has been invested in blockchain startups. But that’s more than 50% down compared to the same period last year, when close to $1.8 billion was raised.
The drop in funding matched the state of the crypto market, when the price of bitcoin stabilized below $4,000 for the first three months of the year. While the market as a whole rose in the past few months, with bitcoin briefly touching $14,000, that wasn’t enough to cause venture capitalists to wholeheartedly return to the market.
The State of Blockchains Q2 2019 report details money raised via 279 deals in the first half of 2019 (versus through 343 deals during the same period last year), with the majority of the fundraising at the seed stage.
But though investments have slowed, there’s a significant uptick in the quality of projects, according to Lawrence Lundy-Bryan, partner and head of research at Outlier Ventures.
“The nature of tokens that we are seeing traction today have better-defined ecosystems associated with them, trading infrastructure has evolved substantially and regulatory compliance has become easier for institutional giants,” he said, in a statement.
The report also identifies the trend towards IEOs as a possible new source of funding. And it says that the recent bitcoin boom may be due to concerns of a trade war between the US and China. It indicates that institutional investors may be hedging their bets by investing in bitcoin.
Looking ahead, Facebook’s Libra may be the turning point for blockchain and crypto assets, according to Outlier. So far, 28 enterprise partners have committed to contributing $10 million to back the social network’s project, even if some of them are having doubts.
Nonetheless, Jamie Burke, CEO at Outlier Ventures, claims the initiative has polarized the crypto industry.
“On the one hand, they and their partners bring some much needed legitimacy to the space after the craziness of ICOs and of course the promise of billions of users,” he said. But on the other, “there is a deep mistrust of Facebook’s intentions and their ability to resist the holy grail of connecting the financial data of Libra with the social data of their media platforms.”
But either way, it’s got the whole world talking about blockchain, and that can’t be a bad thing.