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Payments Startup Omise Joins Wave of Digital-Coin Fundraising

Omise, a Bangkok-based startup backed by Japan’s SBI Investment, plans to raise as much as $16 million. They will sell digital tokens as it builds a new payment service based on blockchain technology.

Crowdsales have mainly been used by small crypto-currency outfits. Omise’s move signals that venture-backed startups are now turning to the new model for funds.

“We will be the first mainstream business to pioneer the use of a token sale to bring new product to market,” said the CEO. “For the public, this token sale provides an opportunity to share the benefit of a future Omise product. And later to participate in running the mobile money network itself.”

Last year, Singapore-based startup DigixGlobal became the first in the world to launch a crowdsale on Ethereum. Though the sale was scheduled for a period of 30 days, DigixGlobal hit its target of $5.5 million in just 12 hours. Qtum, another Singapore-based startup, last week raised more than $15 million through a crowdsale.

By using blockchain crowdfunding rather than VC firms, startups like Omise can avoid selling company equity. At the same time, they can also gain public participation, hoping to secure a broad set of stakeholders who want the project to succeed.

Founded in 2013, Omise, which means ‘store’ in Japanese, raised $17.5 million in a Series B round last year from investors led by SBI Investment. Other backers include Sinar Mas Digital Ventures, Ascend Money and Golden Gate Ventures.

Source: Bloomber (31/03/2017)

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