Protego Trust Bank, a chartered crypto bank advised by Brian Brooks, raised $70 million from a host of crypto heavyweights last year and is now in the early stages of another funding round that would value the company at nearly $2 billion.
Investors in the $70 million Series A fundraise — which closed quietly in 2021 — included the investment arms of FTX, Coinbase, Algorand, Avalanche, Cardano, Ripple and Solana, as well as Digital Currency Group, NYCA Partners and Reciprocal Ventures, according to people familiar with the matter.
While the valuation for the Series A round is unclear, The Block’s sources said Protego has already kicked off a Series B round that is expected to value the company at close to $2 billion. The process only began recently and there is no hard timeline in place for closing the round, they added.
A spokesperson for Protego declined to comment to The Block.
Chartering a course
Protego was founded in 2017 by Greg Gilman, who today serves as its executive chair. Gilman is also a co-founder of Science, a startup incubator. Protego made headlines earlier this year when it appointed former US comptroller of the currency Brian Brooks to its board.
Brooks stood down from his regulatory post in January 2021. One month later, Protego was granted a conditional federal charter from the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), paving the way for the conversion of a charter first granted by the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.
Brooks, who took over as CEO of crypto miner Bitfury in October last year after a short spell as CEO of Binance.US, said in statement issued when he joined Protego that “the complexities and opportunities represented by digital assets” mean that institutional investors need secure and compliant partners to access the sector.
“Protego Trust Bank’s team is disciplined in balancing those requirements with a broad understanding of how distributed ledger technologies will transform the way financial assets are issued, custodied, traded and managed throughout their lifecycle,” he added.
Amid much talk around the institutional adoption in crypto, startups whose mission is to offer safe access to the sector continue to draw significant sums from investors. Only last week, Elwood Technologies — a crypto-focused market access and trading platform owned by Alan Howard — raised $70 million in a Series A round co-led by Goldman Sachs.
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