MoonPay CEO and Co-Founder Ivan Soto-Wright speaking at the 2021 Bitcoin Conference in Miami, Florida.
Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Images
What do Justin Bieber, Gwyneth Paltrow, Snoop Dogg and Ashton Kutcher have in common? As well as being A-list celebrities, they are among more than 60 new investors in fintech startup MoonPay.
Other famous investors include the Chainsmokers, Drake, Eva Longoria, Jason Derulo, Kate Hudson, Paris Hilton, Matthew McConaughey, Mindy Kaling, Questlove, and Shawn Mendes, among others. The new investors are collectively contributing $87 million to a previously announced $555 million funding round led by Tiger Global and Coatue, valuing MoonPay at $3.4 billion.
Founded in 2018, the Miami-based company’s software allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using conventional payment methods like credit cards, bank transfers or mobile wallets, like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
MoonPay also sells its technology to other companies, including crypto website Bitcoin.com and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea, a model CEO Ivan Soto-Wright calls “crypto-as-a-service ”.
NFTs are digital assets that represent real-world objects – such as art, music and real estate – and cannot be reproduced. In the past few months alone, major brands across all industries, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nike, Gucci, and the National Football League, have incorporated NFTs into their marketing initiatives.
“A lot of companies might open a very small part of their tours, but we wanted to take meaningful checks from those people because we want them to be part of that story and shape the direction of the products,” said Soto-Wright told CNBC.
Especially when it comes to artists, they don’t want to tour forever, so they branch out more and more, he said.
“A lot of them have venture capital portfolios, a lot of them have their own independent businesses, and we told them ‘we can help you understand the opportunities around Web3, crypto and the metaverse’ ,” Soto-Wright said. “We hardly had any refusals. Everyone wanted to be part of it.”
MoonPay claims to be profitable since launching its platform in 2019. Its service is now used by more than 10 million customers in 160 countries.
Yet investors struggle to see the value in digital art and are perplexed by big sales, like Beeple’s piece, which sold at Christie’s for $69 million.
Going forward, the company plans to spend the money raised on new products and expansion. He also has ambitions to take the business public.
“We aspire to become a public company eventually,” Soto-Wright told CNBC in November.
However, cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, and this has affected even the most well-known players in the space. Bitcoin fell below $40,000 earlier this week for the first time since mid-March.
—CNBC ryan browne contributed to this report.