Crypto developer ConsenSys, which owns the popular Ethereum-based MetaMask wallet, announced a $450 million Series D round today that values the company at $7 billion, nearly double in worth since its last fundraise in November 2021.
ParaFi Capital led the raise alongside other existing investors Third Point, Marshall Wace, True Capital Management and UTA VC, United Talent Agency’s venture fund. New investors participated as well, including Temasek, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Microsoft, Anthos Capital, Sound Ventures and C Ventures.
Founded in 2014, ConsenSys has been through a series of changes and reorganization initiatives throughout its history. It settled on its current structure in 2020 through a transaction that sold certain assets from ConsenSys Mesh, the company’s venture arm, to ConsenSys Software Incorporated (CSI), a newly formed company that, post-transaction, now functions as the parent entity to some of the company’s key products, including MetaMask and developer platform Infura.
The funding round comes amid allegations by a group of ConsenSys shareholders that the company’s founder, Joseph Lubin, illegally shifted assets from ConsenSys Mesh into CSI as part of this transaction. The group, which says it represents over half of all known ConsenSys Mesh shareholders, claims Lubin transferred out of the entity assets and intellectual property that were valued at $46.6 million as of June 2020, unfairly harming them while enriching Lubin. The group is pushing for an independent audit to be conducted in a court in Switzerland.
A spokesperson for ConsenSys Mesh told TechCrunch in a statement that it expects the audit, if it does take place, to confirm that the transaction occurred at fair market value.
“Though we respect the rights of all shareholders and the legal process such rights afford them, we believe this to be a straightforward case of these minority shareholders hoping to apply a retroactive valuation for what they know to be the value of ConsenSys Software Inc. today, to the value of the assets in early 2020,” the statement says.
The assets in question include MetaMask and developer platform Infura, as well as Truffle, PegaSys, Codefi and other global subsidiaries, Blockworks reported. Many of these products are key to the Ethereum ecosystem, and their popularity reflects, in part, Lubin’s status as a co-founder of Ethereum itself.
ConsenSys booked “nine figures” in revenue in 2021, according to a representative for the company. MetaMask alone has over 30 million monthly active users (MAUs) today, up 42% from four months ago, ConsenSys’s chief strategy officer, Simon Morris, told TechCrunch in an interview. It is reportedly the most widely used Ethereum wallet by this metric.
At the time of the asset transfer, Metamask was valued at $4.4 million, though the shareholder group argues that that’s likely a very low estimate of what the subsidiary was actually worth then. Infura, ConsenSys’s Ethereum development platform, was valued at $14.5 million at the time of transfer, according to Blockworks.
ConsenSys also announced today that Infura now has 430,000 developers using the product, up from 350,000 last November, and that its API now supports over $1 trillion in annualized on-chain ETH transaction volume.
The latest funding will support growth across the entire ConsenSys product suite — the company hopes to grow its team from 700 employees today to about 1,000 by the end of this year, both on the developer side and the user wallet side, Morris said.
Despite its deep roots in the Ethereum ecosystem, the company plans to use some of the proceeds to roll out a plug-in extensibility system that will allow its products to integrate with a wide variety of other protocols, though Morris declined to share details on which specific chains it is evaluating.
Although Ethereum remains the most popular blockchain overall, it has faced challenges from competitors such as Solana that offer lower transaction costs and higher throughput. The company’s move to expand beyond Ethereum is “absolutely driven by market demand” and a desire to drive further innovation in web3 overall, Morris said, noting that one of Infura’s key areas of focus is multi-chain scalability.
Since its last fundraise, the company’s strategy has not changed, Morris said.
“It’s a MetaMask and Infura-centric company. They’ve developed a platform. There’s millions of users and these things feed each other,” Morris said.
The Series C round was substantially oversubscribed, according to Morris. ConsenSys did not “want to take more money at that valuation,” instead opting to raise the Series D later to aim for a higher figure, he added.