Japan’s Biggest Bank Invests in Crypto Sleuthing Startup Chainalysis

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), Japan’s largest bank, has backed an additional $6 million Series B round for cryptocurrency sleuthing startup Chainalysis.

The investment came via the bank’s venture capital unit, MUFG Innovation Partners, Chainalysis said Tuesday. The round also saw participation from Tokyo-based investment firm Sozo Ventures.

The additional funding means Chainalysis’ total for its Series B round now sits at $36 million. It raised $30 million back in February, in an initial round led by venture capital firm Accel Partners.

With the additional investment, Chainalysis said it aims to expand its Asia-Pacific business and open a new office to assist that effort.

The startup said it has already significantly grown its business in the region, claiming to have more than doubled client numbers and increased contracted revenue by “more than 16x” last year.

“Chainalysis plans to build on this momentum with a physical presence and deeper engagements with entities including Sozo and MUFG, who will provide critical market insights,” the firm said.

In April 2018, Chainalysis raised $16 million in Series A investment from Benchmark Capital, and launched a cryptocurrency compliance tool, called Chainalysis KYT (for “know your transaction”), which it says provides transaction analysis in real time.

MUFG Innovation Partners CEO and president, Nobutake Suzuki, said in yesterday’s announcement:

“Chainalysis’s compliance technology is important to providing the insight and anti-money laundering controls banks need in order to establish next generation compliance frameworks.”

Founded in 2014, Chainalysis notably helped investigations in the Mt. Gox bankruptcy case, in the attempt to locate the collapsed exchange’s missing bitcoin.

Last week, the startup published a public comment letter in response to a draft recommendation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), saying that it is unrealistic and harmful for the crypto industry to expect exchanges to send know-your-customer (KYC) information to recipient platforms with every transaction.

MUFG image via Shutterstock

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