(Bloomberg) – Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte was among investors in a funding round that valued cryptocurrency trading platform Amber Group at $3 billion, just weeks after the city-state has cracked down on marketing by crypto firms.
Existing shareholders, including Sequoia China, Pantera Capital and Tiger Global Management, also took part in the $200 million financing, Singapore-based Amber said in a statement on Tuesday. The company, founded in 2018 by five former Morgan Stanley traders, has seen its valuation triple since mid-2021.
Singapore is one of the hottest Asian markets for crypto startups, and Temasek and its affiliates have made several investments in the sector over the past year. Amber extended its Series B funding round, originally announced in June, specifically to bring in Temasek as an investor, chief executive Michael Wu said.
“They’re very strategic, so we made this special effort to bring them in,” Wu said in an interview.
Amber will use the proceeds to hire in Europe and the Americas and expand coverage of a mobile app it launched globally last year, according to the statement.
Wu said Amber could pursue another funding round later this year ahead of an initial public offering that could take place as early as the second half of 2023, most likely in the United States.
The deal comes as Singapore attempts to suppress the more speculative aspects of crypto while encouraging institutional participation. In January, the central bank asked companies in the sector to sharply limit marketing to the general public, citing the risk of volatile digital tokens.
Read more: Crypto ATMs halted in Singapore after marketing crackdown
Some 180 companies have applied for permits to operate a regulated cryptocurrency business in Southeast Asia’s wealthiest country; by January, only five had obtained approvals in principle. Amber declined to say if she applied for a license.
Senior executives including Wu have moved to Singapore from Hong Kong in recent months, underscoring the city-state’s emergence as a crypto industry hub. In September, Amber said it hired former Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives to help bolster its expansion.
Read more: Ex-Goldman, Morgan Stanley executives join Crypto Unicorn
(Updates with CEO comments from the third paragraph.)
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