The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is entering the digital currency sector by joining a US$400 million investment round for a cryptocurrency earning and borrowing platform.

Alberta-based WestCap Group Inc. is the other co-lead investor in the funding round for Celsius Network, a blockchain-based investment platform aimed at high-net-worth retail and institutional investors.

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Following the funding round, the company, which seeks to bridge the divide between traditional finance and cryptocurrencies, was valued at US$3 billion. The proceeds will be used to expand the business’ products and offerings and to launch investment-grade products aimed at attracting institutional investors. Celcius has also announced plans to more than double the number of employees working for the organization, from 486 to about 1,000.

The cryptocurrency lending platform, which has about a million registered users, saw its digital assets under management expand from US$1 billion in June 2021 to US$25 billion this month. While its basic services are without cost, membership provides access to financial services that aren’t available through traditional financial institutions.

In a press release, Alexandre Synnett, executive vice-president and chief technology officer at the Caisse, noted that blockchain technology could disrupt several sectors of the traditional economy. “Celsius is the world’s leading crypto lender with a strong management team that puts transparency and customer protection at the core of their operations. [The Caisse] and WestCap are eager to partner with them to share our expertise in the fintech sector as they continue to expand their services.”

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In other news, the Caisse’s real estate investment arm, Ivanhoé Cambridge, is converting its corporate program of term loans and lines of credit by aligning them with its environmental, social and governance performance.

The conversion program is designed to index the company’s financing costs to its extra financial performance. About $8.5 billion in corporate financings will be affected by the plan.

The key performance indicators used to measure the company’s extra financial performance include low-carbon investments and the carbon intensity of its portfolio. The move is part of a broader strategy to achieve carbon neutrality for the entire portfolio by 2040.

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