The fintech industry is experiencing rapid growth and is being transformed by innovative technologies. Cryptocurrency firms are emerging as some of the most intriguing developments in the space, gaining increasing acceptance among investors and consumers and recording enormous valuations.
According to data from Finbold, three cryptocurrency firms with a cumulative valuation of $42.3 billion made it to the list of top 10 leading fintech unicorns globally as of Q4 2022. The top 10 fintech unicorns have a total valuation of $273.7 billion.
Top 10 Fintech Unicorns
Ripple, based in the United States, has a valuation of $15 billion, ranking fifth overall. Blockchain.com is sixth overall with a valuation of $14 billion. OpenSea, a non-fungible tokens (NFTs) marketplace, has a valuation of $13.3 billion and emerged as the eighth most valuable fintech unicorn globally.
Stripe is the most valuable unicorn at $95 billion, followed by Checkout.com at $40 billion. UK-based challenger bank Revolut is third at $33 billion, followed by Chime at $25 billion. The emergence of blockchain-centered firms in the top list of unicorns demonstrates the increasing relevance and importance of the crypto industry in the financial sector.
Traditionally, fintech unicorns have been dominated by payment, banking, and remittance platforms, but the entry of crypto-based companies appears to disrupt the industry’s landscape. This is also an indicator that the crypto market is maturing and entering the mainstream sector.
The startups have earned their valuations, considering that the general cryptocurrency space experienced a downturn in 2022 following an extended bear market. This highlights that the underlying blockchain technology drives the companies and has not been swayed by the crypto market decline, primarily caused by macroeconomic and regulatory issues rather than any flaws in the technology.
Economic conditions contributed to a slowdown in funding as investors waited on the sidelines to assess the situation.
The U.S. as a Unicorn Hub
The U.S. remains the leading destination for unicorns due to a combination of factors, including a well-developed venture capital industry, a culture encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, a large and affluent consumer market, a diverse economy with various industries, and a supportive regulatory and legal environment for businesses.
However, regulatory uncertainty threatens the existence of crypto companies in the region. Still, cryptocurrency firms have the advantage of being able to relocate with ease, as there are no geographical boundaries to limit them.
Ripple remains the highest-valued crypto unicorn amid the company’s troubled operating environments in the U.S., which have been dominated by regulatory uncertainty. The company faces a lawsuit from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) alleging that it sold XRP as unregistered securities.
Ripple’s valuation has remained steady, appearing unfazed by the uncertainty ahead of the case conclusion. The case is likely to have widespread effects on the general crypto market, and the valuation of Ripple can be tied to the fact that a significant share of the company’s business is located outside the United States.
Optimism for the Future
Despite the uncertain global economic climate, there is optimism about the future, with most companies focusing on new products such as Web3. The crypto sector is likely to resume growth after the market downturn, and unicorns are considered prime candidates for an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
However, the feasibility of launching an IPO hinges on the state of the economy, and most companies have already put in place measures such as slowing the hiring process and staff layoffs as funding is reduced.
Cryptocurrency firms, including Ripple, Blockchain.com, and OpenSea, are making waves as top players among global fintech unicorns, collectively valued at $42.3 billion. This highlights the increasing importance of the crypto industry in finance, disrupting traditional fintech sectors.