Looks like there are, or will be, some more Crazy Rich Asians in Singapore. Terra has raised $32 million to fuel its vision of creating Project Terra, the next generation of digital money, based on blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.
Investors in the Singapore-based startup, which operates under the legal name Terraform Labs, include mainstream funds like Translink Capital, as well as leading blockchain-focused funds Polychain Capital, FBG Capital, Hashed, 1kx, Kenetic Capital, Arrington XRP, and many others.
In a rare event, the capital investment arms of four of the six largest cryptocurrency exchanges globally have also signed on as lead investors: Binance Labs, Okex, Huobi Capital, and Dunamu & Partners (the investment firm of Upbit operator Dunamu).
Terra says it will invest the initial seed capital in building a “modern financial system on the blockchain.”
The team aims to solve key barriers to the mass adoption of digital currencies by creating a price-stable cryptocurrency (“stablecoin”) that can be readily used on Terra’s blockchain payment solution. However, the investment has taken some form of equity investment, and the money raised is not strictly just a token sale.
The company plans to tap the ever-growing transaction volumes of ecommerce platforms. Terra is using a proven model that has worked tremendously well for payment platforms like AliPay and PayPal, working with Taobao and eBay, respectively. To achieve this, it is building the Terra Alliance, a group of global ecommerce partners that will help drive fast adoption and usage of its blockchain payment system.
“We are pleased to support Terra, which sets itself apart from most other blockchain projects with its established and immediate ecommerce go-to-market strategy,” said Karthik Raju of Polychain Capital, in a statement. “Its existing technology and compelling business model provide an ideal launching pad for Terra to fundamentally disrupt how everyday digital commerce is conducted across global consumer markets.”
The Terra team is already deeply connected to the ecommerce industry. Cofounder Daniel Shin is founder and chair of TMON, a leading ecommerce platform in South Korea with a market value of nearly $4 billion and 9 million annual customers.
To date, 15 companies have joined the Terra Alliance along with TMON, including Woowa Brothers, Qoo10, Carousell, Pomelo, and TIKI — some of the fastest-growing ecommerce companies in Asia. With a total of $25 billion in annual transaction volume and 40 million customers, the Terra Alliance could set the stage for Terra to become a medium of exchange at a massive scale, the company said. More partners will be joining the alliance as Terra expands its global footprint.
“From experience, I know that faster, more secure transactions at a fraction of today’s fees could be a game-changer for many ecommerce platforms. We are excited to be working with great partners and look forward to beta-testing Terra’s payment system in Q4 of this year,” said Shin, in a statement. “However, our vision goes beyond positioning Terra as a trusted and secure medium of exchange for ecommerce. The potential application of Terra is immense, and we foresee it being used for all types and forms of financial products, like loans and insurance.”
Terra was conceived in response to the need for a stable digital currency that is immune to the price volatility that comes with speculation and manipulation. That’s been a big problem for popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
However, creating a widely accepted digital currency is only part of the mission. Beyond being a currency, Terra hopes to evolve into an open platform where innovative financial dApps (decentralized apps) can build upon its stability. In finally bridging the gap between digital currencies and real-world application, Terra wants to help unleash blockchain‘s vast and yet-to-be-realized potential to revolutionize the very nature and form of money.
“While we see many stablecoins coming out, Terra’s journey is especially meaningful, as they are designing one of the few price-stable protocols with existing, working, and strong go-to-market strategy and usage. We are constantly impressed by the founder’s leadership and earnest commitment to the business, and excited to support the team,” said Ella Zhang, head of Binance Labs, in a statement.
Rivals include Hedera Hashgraph. Terraform Labs has 20 employees, most of them based in South Korea.