Blockstream has raised $55 million in Series A funding led by Horizons Ventures, AXA Strategic Ventures, and Digital Garage, bringing total investment in the company to $76 million.

The additional funding will be used to further enhance Blockstream’s sidechain technology, expand its operations globally, and support new industry partnerships

The investors participating in this latest round, including existing ones from its $21 million seed round in 2014, are AME Cloud Ventures, Blockchain Capital, Future\Perfect Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Mosaic Ventures, and Seven Seas Venture Partners. As part of the round, Frances Kang from Horizons has joined our Board of Directors.

Frances Kang, Horizons Ventures, commented about the investment:

Blockchain technology is redefining what is possible within the fintech ecosystem and beyond. The transition to this new world – one that is decentralized, interoperable, secure, and trustworthy – is going to be illuminating. We are excited to be working with Blockstream to see their innovative sidechain technology reach its full potential.

With the investment from its venture arm, AXA is one of the first insurance companies to investment in a major blockchain technology startup. François Robinet, Managing Partner of AXA Strategic Ventures, noted:

We are convinced that blockchain technology has the ability to transform not only financial services but also other industries. Blockstream has the best technical team in the industry and we strongly believe in their approach of developing foundational infrastructure for various blockchain applications. We value Blockstream’s open source approach and its sidechain technology, which will allow interoperability between different chains and provide critical long-term success in this sector. We also look forward to partnering with Blockstream to drive the transformation of insurance and asset management businesses.

Kaoru Hayashi, Digital Garage’s Group CEO, stated:

We are excited to work with Blockstream to expand their business in Japan and other Asian countries in conjunction with Digital Garage’s strategic partners in the financial sector. We look forward to seeing how cryptofinance and blockchain technology create new contexts for a better society.

Over the last year, Blockstream has launched its Elements Project, with a working sidechain, that included new innovations such as “Segregated Witness” and “Confidential Transactions“. The startup has lined up a founding group of exchanges for its first commercial sidechain, dubbed Liquid, and began working with a number of companies interested in blockchain use cases across logistics, finance, hospitality, gaming, and telecommunications.

Blockstream founder, Austin Hill, noted more of the  2015 developments at the company:

We doubled the size of our team, replaced our string of Airbnb hacker houses with two small offices in the Bay Area, helped organize and present new research at the groundbreaking technical Scaling Bitcoin workshops, and members of the team continued to make a number of contributions to Bitcoin. Our team also started collaborating closely with a new strategic partner, PwC, to explore combining expertise and technology to accelerate the deployment of blockchain technology to the market.

It was against this backdrop that, during the last quarter of 2015, Blockstream decided to accelerate timing for its second round financing. According to Hill, the company had more than half of its initial seed investments in the bank, but the growing interest in blockchain technology created an opportunity for it to gather more funding to support building an open source infrastructure to “re-architect the very dynamics underpinning trust globally.”