The purchase of Israeli company First will see Fireblocks expand its existing payment capabilities by enabling payment service providers (PSPs) and acquirers to accept payments and make payments in digital currencies.
All 16 First Digital employees will join Fireblocks. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed to be around $100 million. Of the $550 million raised by Fireblocks last month, $100 million went to secondary transactions. Fireblocks currently employs 300 people and serves over 800 financial institutions, securing the transfer of over $2 trillion in digital assets.
First Digital has had its fair share of ups and downs in its relatively short life. The company has raised a total of $20 million to date, including from Target Global, Yariv Gilat, Ofir Shalvi, Sir Ronald Cohen and Uri Shahak, co-founder of gaming companies Playtika and Beach Bum.
First Digital CEO Ran (Goldi) Goldstein spoke to Calcalist about the roller coaster the company had been on up to this point. “In 2018, the crypto market was struggling and had a very tough winter. We had to make adjustments and lay off 90% of our staff and restart our business. We moved into the world of payments and became part of a Facebook program and found ourselves working with a lot of big companies like PayU,” Goldi explained. “We thought crypto would be used for payments and not just commerce and I think our bet paid off because at the end of 2021 we had a lot of interest from many payment companies who wanted to add crypto payments to their offer and crypto companies. who wanted to diversify beyond trade.
Fireblocks CEO Michael Shaulov explained the reasons for the acquisition. “We have worked with First from the very beginning and have done so very closely since they underwent their change. They have built one of the strongest crypto, payments and product teams and they will complement our capabilities The significant advantage of First is that, like Fireblocks, they have built a technology platform that easily connects to different payment providers and allows them to easily receive payments in cryptocurrencies.Like us, they don’t want become a financial institution, but rather integrate their technology with our hundreds of customers,” Shaulov noted. “This is our first acquisition and it’s important for us, but we’re not going to make countless acquisitions now. Our objective at the moment is to integrate the First team which has capabilities in many sectors.We are studying other acquisitions, but nothing is imminent.
Today, PSPs and large merchants are eager to meet customer demand for crypto and digital asset payments, but offering these services often comes with high wallet integration costs, filtering manual KYC/AML and managing the complexity of rapidly accepting new blockchain payment types. Fireblocks offers solutions to address these challenges, and the addition of First Digital will further strengthen its capabilities. Fireblocks plans to improve its support for B2C, B2B, cross-border, and other payment methods through USDC, Celo, and other stablecoins and cryptocurrencies starting in the spring of 2022.
First’s engineering team brings deep blockchain payments experience and will lead the integration between First’s payment platform and Fireblocks direct custody platform. Fireblocks believes that integrating First into the Fireblocks technology stack will significantly expand its payments offering, creating a suite of tools that integrates digital asset treasury operations with day-to-day financial activities.