Mesh, a digital assets startup that aims to make crypto transactions more secure and convenient, has received a $6.5 million investment from PayPal’s venture arm. The deal is remarkable because $5 million of the investment was made in PayPal’s stablecoin, PYUSD, which was launched in August last year.
Mesh was founded by cybersecurity veterans who previously sold their first venture, LogMeIn, which operates the popular password manager LastPass. Their new venture is focused on facilitating crypto-based financial transactions, using a service that is similar to Plaid but for crypto.
Plaid is a service that allows users to connect their bank accounts to various apps and websites by entering their online banking credentials. Mesh does something similar but for crypto wallets, exchanges, and fintech apps that support crypto. Mesh cofounder and CEO Bam Azizi says that Mesh is like a Plaid for crypto, but with a bigger role in transferring virtual currencies.
Unlike traditional crypto transfers, which require users to copy and paste long and complex strings of characters, Mesh offers a more user-friendly and secure alternative. Users can simply use an in-app menu to select the destination and amount of crypto they want to send or receive without exposing their private keys or addresses.
Mesh claims that hundreds of companies are integrating its services, but it has not revealed any specific names yet. Azizi says that the startup is generating more than $1 million in revenue and could be profitable if it wanted to, but it is focusing on growth and innovation instead.
PayPal’s Bet on Stablecoins And Crypto
PayPal’s investment in Mesh is not surprising, given the payments giant’s increasing interest and involvement in the crypto space. PayPal launched its own stablecoin, PYUSD, in August 2020 with the help of Paxos, a New York-based firm that produces white-label stablecoins.
Stablecoins are digital assets that are pegged to a fiat currency or a basket of assets and are designed to minimize the volatility and risk of crypto markets. PayPal’s PYUSD is backed by US dollars and runs on the Ethereum blockchain. It is part of PayPal’s strategy to offer more payment options and expand its global reach.
While PYUSD is still a small player in the stablecoin market, which is worth around $135 billion and is dominated by Tether, it has seen significant growth in the past few months. Its market cap is around $300 million, and it grew over 70% between mid-December and mid-January.
By investing $5 million in PYUSD in Mesh, PayPal is supporting a promising crypto startup and increasing the circulation and adoption of its own stablecoin. PayPal Ventures added another $1.5 million in cash to the deal, bringing the total investment to $6.5 million. This follows Mesh’s $22 million Series A funding round last year, which included backers such as Money Forward, Galaxy, and Samsung Next.
“We are confident that this investment will fuel Mesh’s growth and contribute significantly to the advancement of embedded finance and native stablecoins,” said Amman Bhasin, a partner at PayPal Ventures.