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Crypto Funding Picks Up As Bitcoin Bull Run Sparks Fresh Interest

Shalini Nagarajan
Last updated: | 2 min read
Crypto funding
Source: DALL·E 3

Crypto’s comeback year is getting even better, as venture capitalists are reentering the funding arena.

Breaking a downward trend, VC investment in crypto startups climbed 2.5% to $1.9b in Q4 2023, marking the first such rise since Q2 2022, PitchBook data published Thursday showed.

Though still significantly lower than its peak, the fourth quarter marked a turning point for crypto VC funding.

This data suggests that crypto founders, battered by the not-so-distant “crypto winter,” can finally breathe a sign of relief as new funding brings a welcome thaw. The development comes as bitcoin trades above $52,000, breaking a barrier for the first time in two years.

The glory days of crypto faded fast over the past two years, marked by the dramatic implosion of FTX and the domino effect it triggered, as well as increasing regulatory scrutiny from authorities.

User-Friendly CeFi Remains Attractive Despite Recent SEC Scrutiny

Robert Le, Pitchbook’s senior analyst of emerging tech, pointed out that despite the recent black eye plaguing major exchanges like FTX and Binance, investors continue to see promise in centralized finance (CeFi) providers.

“With better user experience, these exchanges and their associated wallets present the lowest barriers to adoption of crypto for retail users,” he said.

Some notable fundraising took place in the last quarter of 2023. Swan Bitcoin got $165m and scored $100m. The biggest deal went to cross-chain bridging protocol Wormhole, with a massive $225m investment., developer of an open-source decentralized cloud platform, secured another big investment of $102.5m.

Crypto fuding
Source: Pitchbook

Real-World Use Cases to Take Center Stage in Crypto Funding

“A lot of the bad actors have been flushed out,” Le said in a Bloomberg interview about the aftermath of the last 18 months since the crypto industry took a battering. Investors now feel more confident in assessing and scrutinizing these bad actors, equipped with the necessary toolkits, he added.

The analyst anticipates that “real-world use cases for crypto” will be a dominant theme in the next investment cycle. He identified Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks, companies facilitating physical helping to build the physical side for crypto operations, as a potential high-growth sector this year.

Additionally, he expects significant investment to flow toward tokenization, the process of converting assets into digital representations on blockchains. This suggests a future for crypto that integrates into existing systems and fosters tangible applications.

“These things are fundamental business models that are more durable and they have a path to scalability,” Le said.