Japanese crypto trading platform Liquid has hit unicorn status with the first close of an ongoing Series C funding that puts the company valuation at over $1 billion. The news was reported by Cointelegraph Japan on April 3.

Liquid’s parent company is Quoine, a global fintech company licensed by Japan’s Financial Services Agency.

As Cointelegraph Japan reports, the fresh funding and new valuation makes Liquid the country’s second unicorn in the tech startup space — the other being artificial intelligence firm Preferred Networks, which is backed by Toyota, Fanuc, Hitachi and others.

The first close of Liquid’s Series C has reportedly been led by American investment firm IDG Capital, with participation from major Chinese crypto mining manufacturer Bitmain Technologies.

IDG has previously invested in other major crypto industry players such as Coinbase, Ripple, Kakao’s crypto unit and Bitmain itself. Bitmain’s participation reportedly marks its second backing of a regulated digital assets trading platform — following its contribution to a Series B round for crypto and derivatives exchange ErisX in December 2018.

Katsuya Konno — representative director & head of Quoine’s CEO office — told Cointelegraph that the new funding will be used to fuel global expansion, product development of the core trading exchange business and entrance into the security token market.

Cointelegraph Japan notes that notwithstanding Liquid’s unicorn valuation, the funding sealed in the Series C thus far is relatively small, amounting to $1 billion yen (~$9 million).

Liquid had previously raised over $20 million from venture funding, which included major Japanese investment firms JAFCO, SBI, B Dash Ventures, Mistletoe and ULS Group.

In 2017, Liquid had raised over $100 million in an FSA-regulated, pre-discounted initial coin offering (ICO) raise.

As previously reported, major American crypto exchange Coinbase became the industry’s first unicorn after it raised $100 million in August 2017, implying an enterprise valuation of $1.6 billion. More recent reports have suggested the platform could have surged to a valuation of as high as $8 billion in its fall 2018 funding negotiations with Tiger Global and others.