Merge cashes in $9.5M funding to ramp up crypto payment infrastructure

abdelaziz Fathi

Merge, the payments infrastructure crypto startup, has closed a $9.5 million seed round led by Octopus Ventures, one of Europe’s largest and most active VC funds.

The funding round saw participation from well-known names in the crypto investment space including Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research and Ethereal Ventures. They were also joined by angel investors including a clutch of reputable names in both crypto and traditional finance; the founder of Aave, co-founder of Polygon, CEO of Ledger, and former CEO of Barclays Consumer Banking, amongst other prominent investors.

Merge facilitates blockchain and non-blockchain services, offering non-custodial, full-stack payment infrastructure that aims to open up cryptocurrencies and digital assets to more businesses and users.

The company, founded by Kebbie Sebastian, a former PayPal and Barclays executive, alongside former Coinbase and Luno executives, claims it can shorten the on-ramping process. Merge also enables developers to create their own software apps, tools and solutions to help crypto and web3 companies set up their own on-ramping stack.

Merge provides a seamless way to hold and transfer fiat funds, convert between fiat and crypto as well as manage compliance, all within its simple to integrate API. The round highlights the ongoing hype around crypto payments and relevant DeFi applications, as well as the potential for platforms that can enable their greater adoption.

Merge’s founders see this domain is rapidly evolving, and thus it steps in to embed payments infrastructure into existing systems. This is similar to what PayPal and other payment providers have done for the ecommerce space.

Zihao Xu, investor at Octopus Ventures commented: “As the crypto economy moves further into the mainstream, it’s increasingly clear that the current financial infrastructure isn’t fit to serve the rapid expansion of crypto-native businesses and many providers aren’t specialised enough to gauge risk.

“Merge’s vision is to build the infrastructure necessary to allow crypto businesses to operate without fear of shutdown by regulators or third-party risk teams. We’re excited to back them as they build that and, ultimately, unleash even more innovation in crypto and defi,” he added.

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