Morgan Blockchain Capitalbiekert

Morgan Blockchain Capitalbiekert

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Startup Securitize Inc., which is developing a blockchain platform for investors to buy and sell shares in privately held companies and other assets, raised $48 million in a fundraising round co-led by Morgan Stanley.

The Series B round, also led by Blockchain Capital, marks the first investment in the blockchain industry by Morgan Stanley Tactical Value Investing, the companies said in a statement Monday. Pedro Teixeira, co-head of the New York-based bank’s opportunistic investment arm, will join Securitize’s board. Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital are the two largest Series B investors, with neither company disclosing the size of their holdings.

Morgan Stanley sees “this as the future of finance, a future platform for finance,” Securitize Chief Executive Carlos Domingo said in an interview. “The market potential is huge.”

The move is a sign that Wall Street is further embracing emerging blockchain technologies, including the use of digital tokens to represent shares of companies or assets like real estate. Securitize plans to launch a platform soon that allows investors to buy and sell shares of closed-end assets, similar to the way the Robinhood app works for publicly traded companies.

“We make long-term investments in businesses and asset classes that are at the forefront,” Teixeira said in the statement. “Our investment in Securitize is a sign that we believe in the growth and value adoption of digital assets.”

More than 150 companies already use a Securitize service to find backers, and more than 300,000 investors have signed up to use Securitize’s technology to buy shares, spokesman Evan Wagner said. The firm, founded in 2017, is awaiting regulatory approval for both its trading platform and app, with approval expected in the coming months, Domingo said.

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