Badger DAO, a Bitcoin DeFi Solution, Raises $21 Million from Top Crypto Venture Capital Firms

Badger DAO, a Bitcoin DeFi Solution, Raises $21 Million from Top Crypto Venture Capital Firms

Top crypto venture capital firms invest $21 million in Bitcoin-focused decentralized finance (DeFi) platform, Badger DAO, to kick off a new era on the platform. The move aims to diversify some of the BADGER tokens held on the platform’s DAO treasury as a “backstop” to huge bearish market movements.

Reported on Thursday, Badger DAO, a Bitcoin on Ethereum DeFi solution, announced the sale of $21 million worth of its Treasury assets to four top crypto VC firms, including Polychain Capital, Parafi Capital, Blockchain Capital, and an unnamed whale wallet, 0xB1.

The idea first popped up in the Badger Improvement Proposal, BIP-37, under the “Treasury Diversification through Strategic Partnerships” plan, which aims to diversify a portion of the BADGER tokens stored in the Treasury to stablecoins managing the risk.

While it’s uncommon in the DeFi space, as most projects select to raise funds through the market on their AMMs, BIP 37 suggests funding from VCs offers better benefits for Badger DAO. Raising VCs funds will help Badger DAO reduce the market risks of selling through AMMs while gaining strategic value from the investors.

Chris Spadafora, the founder of Badger DAO, supported the current change in the system that is seeing more VCs invest in decentralized finance platforms.

“DAOs should embrace large investment players based on their willingness to participate in governance and open their network to push the protocol forward,” Spadafora said. “Doing it right for VCs is about becoming a community member vs. an investor.”

Badger DAO Treasury currently holds nearly $700 million worth of its native assets – $BADGER and $DIGG. According to Chris Spadafora, the sale involved an exchange of staked BADGER tokens (bBADGER) for USDC tokens which will be used to create a “backstop” insurance pool for users’ funds.

The proposal suggests the community take a “barbell strategy,” but a clear path on how the stablecoins will be used is yet to be determined. One idea is to hold the tokens as part of the Treasury while the USDC tokens can also be staked to earn yields to help the DAO during bear market conditions.

The VCs will also be “getting involved in governance to help the protocol grow, providing long-term liquidity and building more bridges with institutional ecosystem partners,” Spadafora added.

Badger currently sits on $1.40 billion in total locked value (TVL), according to DeFi Pulse, placing it as the tenth-largest DeFi protocol.

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Author: Lujan Odera

New York is Pilot Testing IBM’s Blockchain-Based Health App to Track COVID-19 Vaccinations

New York is Pilot Testing IBM’s Blockchain-Based Health App to Track COVID-19 Vaccinations

New York set to pilot IBM’s blockchain-based health app across the state to confirm an individual’s vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test. The app was first tested in a Brooklyn Nets basketball game earlier this month.

New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced a pilot program to test the Excelsior Pass, a blockchain-based health app developed in partnership with IBM Technologies. In a statement during the “NY Governor’s 2021 State of the State Address”, Cuomo stated the app would confirm a person’s vaccination status or recent COVID-19 test to “get back to normal.”

“The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way, allowing us to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal.”

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Excelsior Pass, a blockchain-based health app developed by IBM (Image: NY Gov)

The app will be tested at the Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center events to help fast-track the reopening of public spaces and events in the state.

The app will voluntarily ask users to share their health status through their mobile phones, and the data is then encrypted and stored on a blockchain safely. Steve LaFleche, General Manager, IBM Public, and Federal Market, said,

“This solution can provide New York, and other states, a simple, secure, and voluntary method for showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or certification of vaccination.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Huobi Crypto Asset Management Gets Clearance to Launch BTC & ETH Funds in Hong Kong

Huobi Crypto Asset Management Gets Clearance to Launch BTC & ETH Funds in Hong Kong

Huobi Technology Holdings, an investment holding company, based in Hong Kong, is pushing towards its goal of establishing itself as Asia’s premier crypto exchange with its latest regulatory approval.

Huobi Goes All In On Asset Management

The company, which was acquired from Pantronics Holding Limited by current CEO and Chairman of the board Li Lin, announced that its asset management arm had received regulatory clearance to operate a digital assets platform in Hong Kong.

Huobi Asset Management cleared the regulatory milestone set by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The asset management arm would be solely focused on virtual currencies.

Huobi Asset Management is expected to launch a flurry of products, including a Bitcoin tracker fund, an Ethereum-focused fund, and a multi-strategy digital asset fund that would manage investment portfolios focused on cryptocurrencies.

The British Virgin Islands incorporated company said a multi-asset fund would also be in the books. This will see it split 10% of its revenue into digital assets and 90% into equity and fixed income. Huobi says investors will be able to subscribe to its services with cash and with digital assets.

Foremost blockchain Chinese blogger Colin Wu applauded the tech giant’s entry, saying that this will serve to encourage Asian investors to consider making a stake in the burgeoning industry.

This latest addition to the management company follows its “Type 4” and “Type 9” licenses in 2020. The Type 4 license has seen it recognized as an investment adviser, and the Type 9 license further recognized the company as an asset manager.

Huobi Eyes GBTC’s Crypto Model

Huobi had previously seen its operations in the US come to an infamous end in 2019. Huobi said in a press release that the unfavorable crypto environment of the United States played a role in its decision to leave the North American nation.

Even though its global presence seemed to have stagnated, Huobi has been making strategic investments and opened a Huobi Argentina platform to service the Argentinian public in 2019. This was executed from their Huobi Cloud platform. Huobi said at the time that support for fiat-to-cryptocurrency was still in the works. Still, customers will be able to easily exchange their digital assets through their over-the-counter platform.

In December 2020, the company made another foray again into the US markets, this time with the hopes of establishing a trust fund. According to Lan Jianzhong, the company had received a Trust Company License from the Financial Institutions Division of the Department of Business and Industry in Nevada, US.

Jianzhong, however, stated that the trust fund was not yet in operation, and the investing public should be cautious about any contrary opinion.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Bitfinex Exchange Rolls Out New Payment Service to Boost Crypto Adoption With Merchants

Bitfinex Exchange Rolls Out New Payment Service to Boost Crypto Adoption With Merchants

Bitfinex crypto exchange announced the launch of its merchant payment network dubbed ‘Bitfinex Pay,’ which aims at increasing the adoption of crypto as a currency across stores in the world. The solution offers merchants a platform to receive payments in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), or Tether (USDT) via Ethereum and Tron blockchains.

The payment solution also supports a Bitcoin Lightning channel, following the exchange’s recent integration of Wumbo channels to support instant deposits and withdrawals.

According to the website, Bitfinex Pay is a widget installed on any online shop and allows merchants to accept crypto payments seamlessly and at no cost. The solution is set to add more cryptocurrencies in the future, the website further reads. Speaking on the latest innovation, Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino said,

“We’re aiming to take on established behemoths in the technology and payments fields, leveraging our knowledge of the tech to bring crypto payments into the mainstream.”

With the world gradually embracing digital payments in response to COVID-19, the new payment solution is aiming at “creating an intuitive and seamless way for online merchants to receive payments in crypto,” Ardoino continued.

To use the app, merchants and users will have to open and register an account with the Bitfinex exchange. The maximum deposit amount on the service is $1,000, and the blockchain fees are set to be paid by the merchants and customers.

Bitfinex has been on a roll in developing new adoption solutions for crypto recently launching the Bitfinex Borrow feature. This peer-to-peer platform will allow users to borrow short-term loans directly from the exchange to avoid selling cryptocurrencies.

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Author: Lujan Odera

BitGo Granted New York Trust Charter by NYDFS to Operate As An Independent Custodian

BitGo Granted New York Trust Charter by NYDFS to Operate As An Independent Custodian

Crypto custodian BitGo has been granted a New York Trust license by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The firm is now set to offer more crypto-based assets on Wall Street.

According to the announcement, the new license grants BitGo a chance to offer trading and crypto storage services to hedge funds, institutional investors, private equity firms as well as banks.

In the past, BitGo was granted a trust charter license in South Dakota, which meant that it could provide its services to different institutional investors from other states apart from New York, which is a major financial epicenter. In line with the new trust charter, Wall Street investors can now confidently utilize BitGo in investing and storing cryptocurrencies.

BitGo’s chief revenue officer, Pete Najarian, explained that the firm will now focus on offering the conventional financial institutions and other investors a simple way to enter into the crypto space. He explained,

“We’re finding that the largest traditional financial institutions are all doing a considerable amount of work to determine what their level of participation will be in the digital asset space. For BitGo that can mean collaborative relationships in which we act as a sub-custodian or we work in partnership or we develop white label solutions.”

Najarian explained that the firm had received high outreach from clients that have been eagerly waiting for them to be licensed. He, however, did not disclose the identity of these customers, only saying that they were not only willing but also wealthy.

BitGo is not the only firm to be issued with the elusive license as this is the eighth charter to be issued in New York. Paxos was the first firm to be issued with a trust charter in 2015, followed by the Winklevoss twins-owned Exchange, Gemini five months later. Others include Fidelity, Coinbase, Bakkt, NYDIG via Stoneridge as well as GMO-Z.com.

BitGo started the journey to licensure in August last year after applying for a New York trust charter with the aim of operating as an independent yet regulated custodian.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

CFTC Commissioner Heath Tarbert Announces Departure From Office

After a successful 18-month tenure in office, Heath Tarbert is set to step down from his role as commissioner of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

Tarbert announced his departure in a tweet published on Wednesday, where he thanked his colleagues for the wonderful time spent. Tarbert stated,

“After almost 2 years at the @CFTC—including 18 incredible months as Chairman & Chief Executive—Friday will be my last day at the Commission. It’s been an honor to work with so many talented individuals who make the CFTC the global standard for sound derivatives regulation.”

Tarbert’s tenure as chairman included the classification of ether (ETH, +0.23%) as a commodity, the launch of ether futures contracts, and an expansion of regulated crypto derivative products.

Recall that in December, he had left his post as chairman of the CFTC, which was announced formally by the Commission on its website. He was then replaced by acting chairman Rostin Behnam. However, Tarbert had indicated that he would go on to stay at the commission as commissioner for an indefinite length of time.

Although his term was not set to expire until April 2024, he said he felt his leaving would help clear the way for President Biden’s selection of a permanent chair. This comes as no surprise as Tarbert had previously said his 18-month term would end once President Joe Biden took office.

Brummer To Head Federal Commodities Regulator

Meanwhile, following the announcement by Heath Tarbert, speculations have been made on who the next CFTC commissioner would be. Although President Biden has not yet nominated a permanent replacement, crypto-savvy academic and Georgetown law professor Chris Brummer is said to be in the lead for the position.

The Georgetown professor has been selected along with two Democratic commissioners, Rostin Behnam and Dan Berkovitz, by the Biden administration. Brummer has been quite vocal on the need for more minorities to be represented in the financial sector, saying this is the only way to quantify the impact policies have on minority groups.

Following his extensive research on digital technology and his role as a member of the sub-committee on virtual currencies, Brummer is seen by many crypto-enthusiasts as the person that will lead the agency to craft a dynamic regulatory framework for the crypto industry.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Rug Pulled on Users as DeFi Project Meerkat Finance Disappears Along with $31 Million

Rug Pulled on Users as DeFi Project Meerkat Finance Disappears Along with $31 Million

Just a day after the launch of the project on Binance Smart Chain, the DeFi project reported a hack, suspected to be a rug pulling, resulting in the loss of 13.96 BUSD and 73,653 BNB.

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) project Meerkat Finance claims to be drained for $31 million in digital assets just a day after launching on Binance Smart Chain (BSC).

The team announced through its Telegram channel that its smart contract vault was compromised, which has resulted in the loss of 13.96 BUSD and 73,653 BNB. Both of these are Binance tokens.

However, it is speculated that instead of a hack, the Meerkat Finance team has pulled the rug. According to on-chain data, the original Meerkat deployer’s account was used to alter the smart contract that contains the project’s vault business logic, which means either the project did so itself or its private key was compromised.

Adding to the exit scam suspicions is the disappearance of Meerkat’s Twitter profile and website.

Binance is reportedly monitoring the situation and plans to freeze any related funds that move to its exchange. The exchange is also asking the victims to report their issues on “Report Meerkat Finance here.”

Binance Smart Chain has emerged as an alternative to the Ethereum network as high fees make the second-largest network unusable to small users. This has the usage of BSC increasing with the unique wallets and transaction volume surpassing Ethereum last month, as per Dapp Radar.

Compared to more than 67k unique wallets and $181 billion in transaction volume at the end of Feb. on the Ethereum mainnet, there were over 108k and $700 billion wallets and volume reportedly respectively on BSC. Mira Christanto, a researcher at Messari noted,

“High gas prices and $100 million funding from Binance has propelled BinanceSmartChain’s TVL to be 25% of Ethereum.”

Several popular DeFi projects have also announced their plan to deploy on BSC or already gone live, including ALPHA, 1INCH, CREAM, DODO, FARM, LINA, REEF, SFI, and SXP.

With increased activity on BSC, it partnered with CertiK Foundation, a decentralized security solutions, and audit provider. CertiK Foundation tweeted on Wednesday,

“A rapid rise in BSC development and utilization calls for an equal response in blockchain and DeFi security. We are here to answer that call.”

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Author: AnTy

Arthur Hayes & other BitMEX Founders Discussing Surrender with the US Authorities

Arthur Hayes & other BitMEX Founders Discussing Surrender with the US Authorities

Arthur Hayes, the former CEO of crypto exchange BitMEX who is currently in Singapore, is proposed to surrender to the authorities in Hawaii on April 6, according to a court filing.

Arthur Hayes has also discussed appearing remotely in New York court, said Jessica Greenwood, assistant U.S. attorney, according to a transcript of a Feb. 9 hearing. Arrangements to allow Hayes to live abroad and travel to the US for court appearances are under discussion as well. The transcript reads,

“We have discussed with counsel how to arrange for a voluntary surrender, and he has proposed appearing within the United States in Hawaii and having his initial appearance there and then, subsequent to his presentment in Hawaii, to arrange for a virtual appearance before your Honor rather than appearing in the Southern District of New York physically, that he would appear before your Honor remotely, having surrendered within the United States to the marshals.”

Another co-founder Ben Delo is planning to surrender in New York before the end of March, regarding which, the US attorney said, they are “working with the FBI and Border Patrol to obtain immigration authorization” due to complications surrounding the UK travel ban.

Greg Dwyer, who also co-founded the exchange, has declined to surrender as Greenwood said, “we were not able to negotiate a voluntary surrender with him.” As such, the US has launched extradition proceedings for him from Bermuda.

Hayes and other executives were charged with violations of the U.S. Secrecy Act last year.

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Author: AnTy

Crypto.com Capital Rolls Out $200 Million Fund to Help Crypto-based Startups Grow

Crypto.com Capital Rolls Out $200 Million Fund to Help Crypto-based Startups Grow

  • Crypto.com has started a venture subsidiary and set aside $200 Million to invest in promising crypto-based startups.
  • This is in tandem with the firm’s efforts to enhance its partnerships and collaborations with different investors within the blockchain and crypto space.

In an official announcement on Thursday, the firm stated that it would invest the $200 million in the seed as well as series A phases of emerging firms within the crypto industry. The Hong Kong-headquartered firms stated that the aim of the investment fund would be to enhance the growth of promising startups and the crypto market in general.

The firm also explained that a solitary investment would be between $100,000 to $3 million, depending on the scope of the startup. In addition, the firm also stated that it would invest about $3 million to $10 million during Series A funding rounds.

Previously known as Monaco, Crypto.com was started in 2016 and over the years has witnessed rapid growth with the firm launching a mobile payments platform that offers users up to 20% discount on purchases made via the CRO coins. The firm has also introduced a staking program that returns as much as 14% interest. The firm also offers a Visa card which can be topped up either through fiat or crypto.

Crypto.com’s CEO, Kris Marszalek, stated that the project boasts of over 10 million users and long-term agreements with crypto stakeholders remain the firm’s priority. Marszalek stated,

“Crypto.com Capital gives founders building in the crypto industry two things: a reputable lead investor for their seed or series A rounds AND priority of launch on the world’s fastest-growing retail crypto platform with over 10 million users.”

Marszalek added that long-term partnerships with various entrepreneurs within the crypto space would be crucial in advancing the crypto industry to the next level.

The new investment wing will be headed by Crypto.com co-founder Bobby Bao. Bao explained that apart from providing early funding to emerging crypto companies, the venture will also offer the startups access to its worldwide global clientele.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Kraken ‘on Track to Go Public’ Next Year, But Not at A $10 Billion Valuation says CEO

Kraken ‘on Track to Go Public’ Next Year, But Not at A $10 Billion Valuation says CEO

Jesse Powell says they are seeing a lot of interest in financing but won’t be selling the company shares at such a “low valuation.”

Kraken is “on track to go public,” says Jesse Powell, founder and Chief Executive Officer of cryptocurrency exchange.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Powell revealed that they had seen a lot of interest from the people to invest in the company. He said,

“We’re certainly on track to go public. We’ve had a lot of inbound interest in financing and people buying shares in the company.”

“So we’re talking to a lot of interested parties. We may end up doing primary financing. The company is cash flow positive. We’ve got a very strong balance sheet. There’s not really a reason to raise new capital other than possibly to accelerate the pace of acquisitions.”

Last week, it was reported that Kraken is in talks to raise new funding from firms including Fidelity, General Atlantic, and Tribe Capital that could more than double the company’s valuation to over $10 billion, and if there’s demand even surpass $20 billion. But according to the CEO, this is a very low valuation, and he isn’t interested in going public at these numbers.

“Personally, I think $10 billion is a low valuation. I wouldn’t be interested in selling shares at that price.”

The leading US exchange, Coinbase, which is going the direct listing route to go public, has got a valuation of $100 billion. In the past 24 hours, Coinbase Pro recorded nearly $2.8 trading volume while Kraken did $1.6 billion, as per Coinmarketcap.

In 2019, Kraken raised $13 million from investment platform BnktotheFuture at a roughly $4 billion valuation.

Kraken is exploring the possibility to go public, but that won’t be happening this year, “possibly next year,” Powell shared.

While the company has SPACs, blank check companies, “lined up around the corner beating down our door looking to do something with us,” Powell said, that’s an unlikely possibility for the exchange, “given the size of the company relative to the size of the SPACs.”

“We’ll probably do a direct listing hopefully sometime next year. But no guarantees.”

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Author: AnTy