The United States dollar is the major currency used in all forms of cross-border trade and is even adopted in the cryptocurrency world. As a result of how highly adopted the US dollar is, challenges with cross-border payments become prevalent for businesses that are located in countries with a dollar shortage.
This challenge is what pushed the launch of Taiwan-based Blockchain startup XREX. Headquartered in Tapei, XREX was launched to provide a backbone for businesses that are trying to leverage the opportunities available in emerging markets. XREX aims to help these businesses operate faster, be more efficient, carry out transactions faster and help businesses maximize their business operations. XREX provides a crypto-fiat exchange platform and other products to help these businesses battle the challenges that are birthed from dollar shortages.
XREX announced on Monday that it raised the sum of $17 million in a pre-Series A funding round. The round was led by CDIB Capital Group and saw participation from investors like SBI Investment (a subsidiary of SBI Holdings), Global Founders Capital, ThreeD Capital, E.Sun Venture Capital, Systex Corporation, MetaPlanet Holdings, AppWorks, BlackMarble, New Economy Ventures, and Seraph Group. Before the round, XREX raised $7 million in a 2019 seed round.
The company said that some of the funds will be channeled into acquiring licenses in South Africa, Singapore, and Hong Kong, as well as go into strategic partnerships with financial institutions and banks. According to the company’s co-founder and CEO Wayne Huang, “we specifically wanted to build a regulatory-friendly cap table. It’s really hard for a startup like us to raise from banks and public companies, but as you can see, this round we deliberately to do that and we were successful”.
Speaking about the round and explaining the decision to invest in XREX, Ryan Kuo; CDIB Capital Innovation Fund head said that “CDIB was an early investor in XREX. After witnessing the company’s fast revenue growth and their commitment to compliance, we were determined to double our investment and lead this strategic round”.
Co-founder Wayne Huang revealed that his previous startup called Armorize Technologies, which he sold to Proofpoint in 2013 formed part of the desire to start XREX. “We ran into all sorts of cross-border money transfer issues. It seemed almost unstoppable. Growing up in the U.S. and then in Taiwan, we were not exposed to those issues. So that planted a seed, and then when Satoshi Nakamoto published the bitcoin white paper, of course, that was a big thing for all cybersecurity experts”, he said.
How blockchain could be integrated with business operations and support financial inclusion in underdeveloped markets became the next thing on his mind. Teaming up with co-founder Winston Hsiao who happens to be the founder of BTCEx-TW; one of Taiwan’s oldest bitcoin exchanges brought XREX to life.
What XREX does is it provides tools that give crypto merchants, especially those situated in areas with low U.S. dollar liquidity, the capability to take on trade in digital fiat currencies.
XREX has been going about achieving its aim quite well and some of its partners include CipherTrace, Sum&Substance, and TRISA. Apart from acquiring licenses in the aforementioned countries, the remaining part of the funds will be used to expand its security and compliance features and expand its fiat currency platform.