American Express Gets In on Crypto for Institutional Investors

In brief

FalconX, a crypto trading platform, has received investment from American Express Ventures.
The platform primarily services institutional investors.
FalconX has reported significant growth since a $17 million funding round in May.

American Express Ventures, the venture capital arm of the financial services giant, is the latest investor in FalconX, a cryptocurrency trading platform targeted at institutional customers.
Neither company disclosed the size of the investment, although it comes following a $17 million venture investment round for FalconX, announced in May. That round included participation from Accel, Accomplice VC, Avon Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Fenbushi Capital, Flybridge Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

“FalconX is helping bring simplicity to the increasingly complex digital asset space through a platform that provides discovery and pricing all in one place,” said Harshul Sanghi, Global Head of American Express Ventures, in a release.
“Amex Ventures invests in startups as a way to better understand emerging areas of the payments ecosystem, and we are pleased to support FalconX as it continues to drive innovation in the digital asset space, including digital currencies.”
Alongside the investment announcement, FalconX revealed that its revenue has grown 350% since the May investment round, with an 150% growth in institutional customers, up to 250 in total. The platform’s transaction volumes have tripled to about $3 billion per month, according to the company, and its new FalconX Credit service saw more than $1 billion in transactions in November.
As institutional interest in cryptocurrency grows, FalconX is emerging as a leading platform for firms looking to enter the market.
“We’re seeing growing interest from traditional asset managers who are adding cryptocurrencies as an inflationary hedge, catalyzed by recent macro-economic policies,” said FalconX co-founder and CEO Raghu Yarlagadda, in a release. “It is a great pleasure to welcome American Express Ventures as we continue to invest in expanding FalconX’s product offering.”
In June, FalconX announced a partnership with PayPal-backed startup TRM Labs to monitor transactions in real-time, providing insight into potential money laundering and other illegal activities taking place on the platform.

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American Express Patent Filing Touts Blockchain for Faster Payments
Global payment giant American Express may be looking into using blockchain to boost the speed of transactions. In a patent application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, the credit card company’s travel arm – the American Express Travel Related Services Company – describes using the tech to facilitate payments between two parties by using transaction requests as a proxy. As described, a request for payment would be sent to the blockchain-based system, which would either be approved or rejected based on various factors, including a risk analysis. If the request for payment is approved, the system would automatically process the transaction, adjusting accounts held by both the payer and the receiver. In order to access the system, parties conducting a transaction must create digital wallets on the blockchain. As a result, the payments are conducted directly through the blockchain, rather than through a third-party banking institution. The patent filing referenc…

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