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Protego Trust Bank, a registered crypto bank advisor to Brian Brooks, raised $70 million from a slew of crypto heavyweights last year and is now in the early stages of another round of funding that will value the company at nearly $2 billion.
Investors in the $70 million Series A fundraiser, which quietly closed in 2021, included a narrow circle of investment divisions of FTX, Coinbase, Algorand, Avalanche, Cardano, Ripple and Solana, as well as Digital Currency Group, NYCA Partners and Reciprocal Ventures, according to the people.
Although the estimate of the Series A round is unclear, The Block’s sources reported that Protego has already started the Series B round, which is expected to value the company at about $2 billion. They added that the process had only started recently and there was no tight deadline for closing the round.
Protego was founded in 2017 by Greg Gilman, who is today its executive chairman. Gilman is also the co-founder of Science, a startup incubator. Earlier this year, Protego made headlines when it appointed former U.S. Financial Comptroller Brian Brooks to its board of directors.
Brooks stepped down from his regulatory post in January 2021. A month later, Protego received a conditional federal charter from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of Exchange (OCC), paving the way for the transformation of the charter first provided by the State Department of Financial Institutions.
Brooks, who took over as CEO of crypto miner Bitfury last October after a brief stint as CEO of Binance. US, said in a statement released when it joined Protego, that “the complexities and opportunities presented by digital assets” mean that institutional investors need safe and interoperable partners to access the sector.
“The Protego Trust Bank team is disciplinedly balancing these requirements with a broad understanding of how distributed ledger technologies will change the way financial assets are issued, stored, traded and managed throughout their lifecycle,” he added.
Amid much talk of institutional adoption of crypto, startups whose mission is to provide secure access to the sector continue to attract significant amounts from investors. Just last week, Elwood Technologies — a cryptocurrency platform for market access and trading owned by Alan Howard — raised $70 million in a Series A round led by Goldman Sachs.
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