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Green crypto startup Chia Network doubles its valuation to $500 million and is mulling an IPO, report says

May 25, 2021, 19:29 IST
Business Insider
Marianne Ayala/Insider
  • Chia Network raised $61 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz in a new funding round.
  • The "green" cryptocurrency startup is now worth approximately $500 million.
  • Chia Network is eyeing an IPO as soon as this year, but a merger with the right SPAC is also possible.

A new, green blockchain startup called Chia Network has more than doubled its valuation to $500 million after a recent funding round and is mulling going public, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Chia Network was founded by BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen and claims to be a green alternative to top cryptocurrencies like bitcoin because of its less energy-intensive method of minting new coins.

The San Francisco-based company raised $61 million from investors including Richmond Global Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz in its latest funding round. Breyer Capital, Slow Ventures, True Ventures, Cygni Capital, Naval Ravikant, Collab+Currency, and DHVC also participated in the round.

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Chia Network's cryptocurrency, Chia, is "farmed" using the "proofs of space and time" model instead of bitcoin's energy-intensive "mining" process via the "proof of work" model.

Chia is now the largest storage-related blockchain at nearly double the size of Filecoin, according to Gene Hoffman, the company's president and chief operating officer.

Hoffman told Bloomberg this latest round of funding is "rocket fuel" that will help accelerate the company's goal to become a trading and payment system for institutions.

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The COO added that he's looking to do a traditional IPO as soon as this year but said a merger with the "right" SPAC is also possible, per Bloomberg.

Bradley A. Gastwirth, Wedbush's chief technology strategist, wrote an email to clients on Tuesday discussing the Chia news.

"We see the funding round as well as the potential IPO as further solidifying Chia's pedigree and likely longevity, a result that could lead to further credibility for the currency based on proof of space," he wrote.

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Chia's new method for "farming" cryptocurrency has presented its own challenges, however. Prices for hard disk drives and solid-state drives have shot up since Chia mining began to gain traction.

Chia farmers use these storage devices to mint new coins, and they're using so many it's driving stocks like Western Digital and Seagate Technology to new highs.

"As we have noted over the past several weeks, the rise of Chia has helped create a shortage of HDDs with pricing in secondary markets rising significantly," Girtswirth wrote in his note to clients.

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Still, investors are bullish on Chia Network's prospects. Richmond Global Ventures managing partner David Frazee, who is set to be added to Chia Network's board, told Bloomberg, "Chia is what Bitcoin would look like if it was designed with knowledge from the last 13 years."

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