Blockchain fintech company XREX has concluded a $17 million pre-A investment round led by a consortium of global investors, underscoring heightened institutional demand for crypto-focused startups.
The consortium was driven by CDIB Capital Group, a publicly traded company in Taiwan, and includes investors from major banks and venture capital firms in North America, Europe and Asia.
Several other publicly listed companies also participated in the investment round, including SBI Investment, which is a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, ThreeD Capital, E.Sun Venture Capital and Systex Corporation. Black Marble, New Economy Ventures, Metaplanet Holdings, Seraph Group and the Taiwan government’s National Development Fund also participated in the round.
XREX said the funds will be used to expand its fiat currency portfolio, acquire licenses and enter into new partnerships with financial institutions and digital wallet providers. The company’s reported mission is to utilize blockchain technology to solve dollar liquidity shortages in emerging markets.
Although the U.S. dollar’s position as global reserve currency is under threat due to massive intervention from the Federal Reserve and de-dollarization efforts in China and Russia, the greenback is still the most widely used currency in the world. As the Bank for International Settlements explained in its 2020 U.S. dollar funding report, the greenback accounts for well over 80% of foreign exchange transaction volume. It also represents more than 60% of official foreign exchange reserves.
The Covid-19 pandemic introduced additional strains in U.S. dollar liquidity, especially in emerging markets that rely heavily on the greenback. These liquidity issues were impacting global commerce and trade long before the pandemic took root. Case in point: A 2019 Asian Development Bank trade finance survey found that nearly 30% of respondents cited dollar liquidity as a major obstacle.
XREX co-founder and CEO Wayne Huang said, “We keenly understand the struggles faced by many cross-border merchants who lack safe access to U.S. dollar liquidity.” In response, his firm is working with regulators and financial institutions to develop tools that will aid merchants and small businesses in emerging markets to reduce forex loss and gain more reliable access to U.S. dollars.