Sovereign Wealth Fund Hiring Blockchain Talent to Invest in Web3, Pantera Capital Raises $600M

Sovereign Wealth Fund Hiring Blockchain Talent to Invest in Web3, Pantera Capital Raises $600M for 4th Fund from Endowment

Funds continue to flow into the cryptocurrency market, with Pantera Capital being the latest to raise funding for its another crypto venture fund.

Pantera Capital has raised $600 million for its fourth venture fund, according to tech news site The Information, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The fund is expected to reach $1 billion when it closes in March and will invest in venture equity and crypto tokens that have launched and are in development.

About 75% of the capital for the new fund is coming from institutional sources such as endowments, much different from the firm’s $175 million it raised in 2018, which was mainly funded by individuals, including wealthy crypto investors.

Just two months back in September, Pantera raised $369 million for its then-new blockchain fund. As of August, the firm had $4.7 billion in assets under management.

Tiger Management alum Dan Morehead founded Pantera in 2003 as a global hedge fund which later shifted its focus to digital currencies and since then has backed more than 80 blockchain companies and 65 early-stage deals, including Coinbase, Circle, and Ripple.

The reservations of Pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, and other institutions are surely dissipating as they increasingly invest in crypto space this year. “Institutions are coming” is certainly not a meme anymore.

Banks are also increasing their efforts with Fidelity, UBS Asset Management, and State Street Global Advisors, confirming that they are looking into the potential of offering exposure to crypto, much like rivals BlackRock and Invesco.

Assets in European exchange-traded products (ETPs) and mutual funds with crypto exposure have topped €10.5 billion, according to Morningstar data.

Fidelity said it was “keeping close to the evolution of cryptocurrencies” as part of their wider exploration of the potential for digital assets, while Clemens Reuter, global head of ETFs at UBS, said, “(Cryptocurrency is) an area everyone needs to look at the moment.”

Citi is also hiring 100 people over the next several months to bolster its blockchain and digital assets divisions. The bank has also made Puneet Singhvi the head of digital assets for its Institutional Clients Group (ICG) as of Dec. 1.

“We are focused on assessing the needs of our clients in the digital asset space,” Citi has said in a statement.

Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek is another one hiring more blockchain talent to lead the efforts in exploring opportunities in AI and Blockchain technologies, “which the firm believes are long-term trends and will have a transformational impact across multiple industries and geographies.”

As per the job description on LinkedIn, Temasek is prioritizing projects on multi-currency payments, financial assets tokenization, and self-sovereign identity with a secondary focus on making select investments into web 3 venture funds and direct investments.

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Author: AnTy

Twitter Launches Dedicated Crypto Division for “All Things Blockchain and Web3”

Twitter Launches Dedicated Crypto Division for “All Things Blockchain and Web3”

Social media giant Twitter is building a new dedicated division for cryptocurrencies called Twitter Crypto. This division is for “all things blockchain at Twitter” due to “massive and growing interest” among “decentralized apps to manage virtual goods and currencies.”

Tess Rinearson has been hired as the team’s engineering lead, who will work under Twitter’s chief technology officer Parag Agrawal, to “set the strategy for the future of crypto at (and on) Twitter,” the company said.

“Twitter gets crypto, and its early integration of Bitcoin Tips and NFT authentication demonstrates that.” “There’s so much more to explore to help people participate in the promise of an evolving, decentralised internet, directly on Twitter.”

On Wednesday, Jack Dorsey’s Bitcoin-friendly company said it would be exploring how they can support the growing interest among creators to use decentralized apps. For this, the crypto division will be working closely with Bluesky, Twitter’s decentralized social network standard.

“Looking farther ahead, we’ll be exploring how ideas from crypto communities can help us push the boundaries of what’s possible with identity, community, ownership and more.”

Just a couple of months back, Twitter enabled the creators on its platform to be tipped in Bitcoin and before that dropped its very own non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It also said Twitter was creating a feature for verifying NFTs as they exploded in popularity this year, and their usage as profile pics (PFP) on the platform grew immensely as well.

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Author: AnTy

Privacy Browser Brave to Integrate Solana as Default Support

Brave browser is making moves to integrate the world’s fastest blockchain to support its 42 million active users and 1.3 million verified creators.

Brave’s Integration with Solana

On Monday, November 8, at Solana’s Breakpoint conference in Lisbon, Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave and Bat, and Anatoly Yakovenko, CEO and founder of Solana Labs, announced the proposed integration of Brave’s Web3 desktop and mobile browser with Solana’s blockchain in the first half of 2022.

The privacy-centric browser turned to Solana for default support due to the blockchain’s high speed and low transaction costs.

Brendan Eich made a detailed explanation, stating how both projects would work together to provide more convenient ways to support potential crypto users to harness digital assets.

“With more and more users and creators requiring tools for fast and affordable access to the decentralized Web, this integration will seamlessly pave the way for the next billion crypto users to harness applications and tokens.”

The privacy browser was initially working on the Ethereum blockchain, but the increased interest in crypto and DeFi resulted in high transaction fees on the ethereum network, causing a drawback for some users.

However, with Solana offering faster transactions of up to 2300 transactions per second (tps) for as low as $0.001-$0.005 per transaction, the platform will provide significant cost savings for Brave browser users and encourage potential users to make use of the Solana blockchain.

Following the announcement, Brave’s native ethereum-based token, Brave Attention Token, BAT, has seen a 25% bullish run in the last 24hrs, according to CoinMarketCap.

The Integration also proves beneficial for Solana (SOL) as it would enable Brave’s 42 million active users to access the new Solana decentralized applications (DApps).

The CEO of Solana Labs, Anatoly Yakovenko, emphasized that integration with browsers will enable decentralized applications to build more convenient web experiences.

A ‘Brave’ Future for Solana

As a result of the partnership with Brave, it is expected that more mainstream crypto users will become aware of Solana’s network in the coming months, thereby increasing its valuation in the long run.

With Solana, developers can access decentralized exchanges (DEX) for Solana swaps via mobile and desktop browsers, enable NFT support, and promote BAT usage by their peers.

Additionally, the Solana Network would be able to implement the Themis protocol developed by Brave, a significant milestone in BAT 2.0.

Brave continues to build more on its privacy policies as it is currently regarded as the premium choice in terms of privacy for access to Web3. With the integration, Brave mobile users will be able to access Web3 more securely.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Nike Prepares for Metaverse with 7 Trademarks, Microsoft Tests Its Own for Early Next Year Launch

Nike Prepares for Metaverse with 7 Trademarks, Microsoft Is Testing Its Own for Early Next Year Launch

After Facebook, Nike is taking steps to enter the Metaverse.

The Oregan-based apparel giant has filed several new trademarks this week that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual Nike-branded sneakers and outfits.

Nike filed applications late last month for “Nike,” its swoosh logo along with “Air Jordan” and “Jumpman” logos and the famous slogan “Just Do It,” according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The company has submitted a total of seven different applications.

Metaverse is a priority for the brand and will be making more virtual rollouts in the months ahead, CNBC reported citing people familiar with the company’s strategy.

Nike has also been posting job openings for a virtual material designer of footwear and other virtual design roles as part of the Digital Product Creation group — “a team focusing on igniting the digital and virtual revolution at Nike.”

In 2019, the Jordan brand partnered with the online video game Fortnite where characters wore Nike-branded sneakers. The same year, it filed a patent for “Cryptokicks,” which the company plan to use as an NFT. Nike also has had several collaborations with another online game platform Roblox.

Pandemic Induced Science Fiction

Another company joining Facebook in Metaverse is Microsoft which is planning to bring PowerPoint and Excel to the virtual world. The tech giant is planning to create a more corporate version of the Metaverse.

Its first offering, which is currently in testing and will be available in the first half of 2022, is a Teams chat and conferencing program that features digital avatars. Here, customers will be able to share Office files and features like PowerPoint decks in the Metaverse.

“This pandemic has made the commercial use cases much more mainstream, even though sometimes the consumer stuff feels like science fiction,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an interview with Bloomberg.

At the company’s Ignite conference on Tuesday, Microsoft said the new Teams features would let businesses create immersive spaces where workers can meet. The technology uses the software called Mesh that enables augmented reality and virtual reality experiences across a variety of goggles.

Microsoft also presented a Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces that will let people move and interact within retail and factory spaces. The company also expects its Xbox gaming platform to take part in the virtual future. “You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming,” said Nadella.

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Author: AnTy

Wharton School to Accept BTC, ETH, & USDC for ‘Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets’ Program

The Wharton School to Accept Bitcoin, Ether, and USDC for its “Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets” Program

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania plans to accept cryptocurrency as tuition for its online blockchain and digital asset program, as per the announcement made this week.

One of the nation’s premier business schools, the Wharton School, is launching a new online program called the “Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets” early next year.

For this program, the University will accept tuition payment in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and stablecoin USDC through the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

“Blockchain and digital assets are not going away,” said Kevin Werbach, the program’s academic director. These new classes are designed for a variety of professionals in fields such as tech, finance, and management.

For this, the Wharton School worked with the blockchain economic consulting firm Prysm Group that has helped educate companies and other schools on digital assets.

The program is supported by Amazon Web Services, Hyperledger, Forte, SKALE, Synthetix, and Algorand. It will also feature guest speakers from USDC issuer Circle, VC giant Andreessen Horowitz, Forbes, cryptocurrency platform Litecoin, Unchained podcast, The Defiant, the World Economic Forum, and the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“It’s a program about blockchain and digital assets, we felt that we should talk the talk and walk the walk.”

“Coinbase has 68 million verified users, any one of these users will benefit from this program.”

Guido Molinari Managing Partner at Prysm Group

The program is currently open for limited enrollment for its first cohort, which begins on January 3, 2022.

Earlier this year, the school said it received the largest ever crypto gift of $5 million from an anonymous donor.

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Author: AnTy

Cosmos Unveils New Blockchain, Sagan, A Canary Network to Allow Developers to Run Tests And Experiments

Cosmos Unveils New Blockchain, Sagan, A Canary Network to Allow Developers to Run Tests And Experiments

As issues of scalability and interoperability become a major problem in the blockchain space, cross-chain network Cosmos has launched a new blockchain solution named Sagan.

On Tuesday, the firm announced that the Sagan’s blockchain solution  would allow developers to experiment with new protocols.

Cosmos had teased the release of the blockchain with a video message accompanied with a quote from Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer, and an image of a canary.

Cosmos and Its Sagan

Before the announcement, Cosmos was working to release Optimint, a scaling solution that will allow developers to build Cosmos-based blockchains which can be deployed in clusters. Cosmos was built on the Tendermint frame and the intention is to make Optimint a drop-in replacement.

A source familiar with the development said the canary symbol on the Sagan blockchain is an indication that it will be a canary network. The canary concept — a blockchain that controls testnets used to try protocols before they go mainnet — was first coined by Polkadot and Kusama network.

After launching its inter-blockchain communication protocol in March this year, the company grew. This protocol allows the seamless transfer of digital assets compatible with blockchains, also covering those in DeFi.

Comos’ Steady Growth

Data from the last 30 days suggests that Cosmos has had over 1,285,426 transfers across its ecosystem. Cosmos, which is said to be the second-largest ecosystem in the crypto space after Ethereum, has secured more than $120 billion worth of digital assets with over 250 blockchain apps and services in the network.

Cosmos recently signed a partnership with Starport, an all-in-one platform to build, launch, and maintain any crypto application on a sovereign and secured blockchain. Part of the deal allows developers to create their blockchains and freely connect them to the Cosmos ecosystem. Developers would also have the opportunity to list their tokens on any of the network’s decentralized exchanges, and get noticed in the crypto world.

Cosmos is also partnering with Forte, a blockchain gaming platform, to build gaming solutions. The partnership will allow Cosmos developers to work with Forte to ensure that all third-party game developers on the Forte platform can access Cosmos’ technology and easily integrate their games with the Cosmos network.

Forte will also add ATOM and other Cosmos-enabled currencies, such as stablecoins, to the Forte network to be used as payment, liquidity, or collateral for users. Cosmos considers all of these achievements a great milestone.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Circle’s Stablecoin USDC Launches on Hedera Hashgraph’s Network

Fulfilling its promise to expand to more blockchain protocols in the coming months, USDT close rival USDC has recently launched on the Hedera network.

The announcement by popular stablecoin issuer Circle on Monday, October 18, makes the asset the first stablecoin to launch on the network.

According to the press statement, USDC users can now deposit, withdraw, and transfer USDC based on the Hedera network within their Circle accounts. Users can tap Hedera for various USDC payments and settlements.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts, with the launch of the USDC on the Hedera network, will have access to opportunities tied to this stablecoin, Jeremy Allaire, CEO and co-founder of Circle, said while commenting on the launch adding that,

“With Hedera, enterprises and financial institutions can access deep liquidity across countries and platforms, making USDC in Hedera an optimal asset for cross-border transactions and trades of all kinds.’’

Circle further said its integration with Hedera (HBAR) is in line with the main goals and objectives of the HBAR Foundation — a body created to support up-and-coming decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) projects that will be launched on the Hedera Hashgraph.

Giving its reasons for choosing Hedera as the supported network for USDC, Circle said the decision was due to the network’s interesting features, such as the ability to process a minimum of 10,000 transactions per second and the provision of real-time settlement, lower fees, and low bandwidth consumption.

Another top reason has been Hedera’s pivot towards a carbon-neutral network. The Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) consensus protocol has since signed a partnership with Terapass to purchase carbon offsets quarterly thereby reducing the environmental impact of its operations.

This carbon-neutral status has seen the Hedera Hashgraph protocol attract several platforms with over 410,000 accounts currently running and over $1.6 billion worth of transactions processed on the blockchain platform.

The Rise of Stablecoins

Recently, there has been increased interest in stablecoins, mainly due to their ability to cushion against the effects of volatility. Stablecoins are a kind of digital assets whose values are tied to fiat currencies like the U.S. Dollar and Euro. USDC is present in over 85 countries, and it’s witnessing widespread adoption. Stablecoins are also being used to facilitate international trades.

In July, Circle partnered with MasterCard to enable individuals and businesses to utilize USD Coin (USDC) for transactions. Circle and Mastercard plan to use USDC to facilitate crypto-to-fiat conversions in a pilot program as part of the partnership.

“The engagement between Circle and Mastercard reinforces how USDC is growing its role in payments and commerce on the internet while building a vital bridge between digital currency payment systems and large, established payment networks,” Circle co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire had said at the time.

USDC Gradually Becoming a Trailblazer

Circle has made significant moves after launching its token USDC in 2018 in a bid to make its version of the digital dollar the standard means of value transfer across the internet.

Besides Hedera, USDC is now supported across several blockchains, including Ethereum, Algorand, Solana, Stellar, and TRON. There are also plans for the digital asset to launch on networks like Celo, Tezos, Polkadot, Flow, Kava, Nervos, and Stacks in the future.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Texas Welcomes Blockchain Data Center with 100% Net Carbon-Neutral Operations

Texas Welcomes Blockchain Data Center with 100% Net Carbon-Neutral Operations Aligning with Citizens’ “Long-Term Interests”

Meanwhile, the largest public bitcoin mining firms in North America overall hold more than 20,000 BTC, worth over $1.1 billion.

Digital asset mining infrastructure provider Core Scientific Holding has signed an agreement with the City of Denton, Texas, and an affiliate of Tenaska Energy to develop a 300MW blockchain data center in Denton.

Core Scientific Chief Executive Officer Mike Levitt said this is their first blockchain data center in Texas which gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their “ability to scale rapidly to meet the increasing demand” for secure blockchain infrastructure for digital asset mining.

For this data center, Core Scientific will be using emissions-free power supplemented by renewable energy credits.

On completion of the data center, this will increase the company’s total power capacity to over 800MW while remaining 100% net carbon-neutral.

“The company’s commitment to 100% net carbon-neutral operations aligns well with the goals of the Denton Renewable Resource Plan and the long-term interests of our citizens,” said Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth adding that its economic benefits will also be realized by the community for many years to come.

Market Manipulation Allegations

Meanwhile, Bitcoin miner Northern Data AF dismissed allegations of market manipulation by Germany’s financial watchdog.

“We are confident that we will clarify the matter in full cooperation with the authorities,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it had rejected the allegations made by the financial regulatory authority for Germany, BaFin, last week in a complaint filed with Frankfurt prosecutors over suspected market manipulation.

The subject of the complaint was Northern Data’s acquisition of bitcoin miner Whinstone US Inc., which was announced in November 2019, said the company.

Public Miners Holding 20k BTC

In other news, Samsung has said that it will start production of the first generation of 3nm chips in the first half of next year. The second generation of 3nm chips is expected to be produced in 2023, and mass production of 2nm chips won’t begin until 2025.

Whatsminer is mainly the mining company that currently uses Samsung chips.

Interestingly, the largest public bitcoin mining firms in North America overall hold more than 20,000 BTC, worth over $1.1 billion.

According to data from The Block, miners like Riot, Marathon, Bitfarms, Hut8, HIVE, Greenidge, and Argo collectively mined just under 6,500 BTC in Q3, accounting for about 7.5% of total BTC block rewards in the period.

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Author: AnTy

Tonga MP Drafting a Bill to Make Bitcoin Legal Tender, Blockchain Tech Already in Use

Tonga MP Drafting a Bill to Make Bitcoin Legal Tender, Blockchain Tech Already in Use to “Revolutionise Humanitarian Aid”

Tonga, which has a population of 105,700 people, is the latest one that could take the route of cryptocurrency as its MP Lord Fusitu’a drafts a bill to make Bitcoin a legal tender in the Pacific nation, according to a media report.

Last month, El Salvador officially became the world’s first nation to adopt Bitcoin alongside the US dollar. In less than a month, the government’s Bitcoin wallet Chivo has 3,000,000 active users, representing 46% of the country’s population.

Following El Salvador’s footsteps, other LATAM countries like Panama and Paraguay have been working on bills to legalize and adopt Bitcoin and crypto.

Much like El Salvador, remittances account for 40% of Tonga’s national GDP, and according to Lord Fusitu’a, using crypto instead of traditional banks would make them cheaper and faster.

While he supports Bitcoin, Lord Fusitu’a is also concerned about people turning to speculating cryptos. “If you put your life savings into something that’s not on that (regulated) list, that’s gone,” he said.

While crypto is yet to become popular here, blockchain technology has already been used in “humanitarian aid” by the members of Melbourne start-up Sempo and NGO Oxfam, who have been training vendors and villagers about how to use Unblocked Cash, a pilot project funded in part by the Australian government.

This blockchain program has registered 35,000 people in the Pacific region and has given over $2 million to participants.

The Unblocked Cash system relies on traditional cash stored in a private bank account and prohibits the trading of crypto assets.

“I don’t see this as being experimental; I see this as being pioneering,” said Jesse Gartner, Oxfam’s cash transfer coordinator in Vanuatu. “Blockchain is here. It’s not going away.”

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Author: AnTy

Shanghai Using Permissionless Blockchain to Pilot the Use of RMB for Cross-border Payments

Shanghai Using Permissionless Blockchain to Pilot the Use of RMB for Cross-border Payments

Conflux’s permissionless blockchain will be used to test the digital RMB for cross-border payments in Shanghai’s Lingang Pilot Free Trade Zone.

In July, China’s central bank has approved the Lingang Pilot Free Trade Zone to test the free capital inflows and outflows.

In January, the Shanghai government invested $5 million in the network.

“Conflux public blockchain will pilot the use of the RMB offshore stablecoin for cross-border payments as part of Shanghai Free Trade Zone initiative- the renminbi is China’s official currency, while the Yuan is the unit of the currency,” noted Conflux Network.

In response to the news, the token of the network CFX pumped 170% to $0.736 over the weekend. But since then, CFX is down about 39% to trade at $0.451 on Monday. The coin is also down 72.4% from its all-time high of $1.70 from six months back.

The state-owned Shanghai Maritime University will conduct the experiment, and Conflux established the Shanghai ShuTu Blockchain Research Institute. The research center will also explore developing blockchain standards for trade and shipping.

The People’s Bank of China has been conducting trials for its central bank digital currency (CBDC) since April of last year but has recently started testing it in cross-border applications.

The PBOC actually aims to launch the CBDC by the 2022 Winter Olympics. Earlier this month, speaking at the China Digital Finance Forum, deputy governor Fan Yifei said e-CNY test runs have shown “great potential” though there were some issues that “need to be solved.”

By mid-July, 21 million individuals were using the digital yuan, and the trial had reached 34.5 billion yuan ($5.3 billion) in transactions.

Two months later, about 140 million people have used China’s digital yuan app thanks to the collaboration between the central bank and Chinese shopping platform Meituan. As a result, almost all the residents in nine major Chinese cities can download the app and start using it.

New features in the form of programmability through smart contracts and sub-wallets to facilitate online digital currency payments to participating merchants have also been added to the app recently.

Besides working with tech giants for the digital yuan, China is also developing gadgets like bracelets, wristbands, and smartwatches to support digital yuan wallets.

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Author: AnTy