129 Crypto Startups Raised $2.6 Billion in Q1: CB Insights Report

Venture capitalists are pouring money like crazy into cryptocurrency-related companies, according to CB Insights.

In the first half quarter of 2020, $2.6 billion was raised by 129 startups focused on the blockchain. In just three months, the crypto industry had raised more than they did in all of 2020 when they attracted $2.3 billion in 341 deals.

This jump in fundraising was fueled by several large rounds by the likes of game-maker Dapper Labs Inc., crypto wallet provider Blockchain.com, and crypto lender BlockFi Inc., according to the data analysis company.

This surge in funding is happening due to the ongoing bull rally that has Bitcoin price soaring to an all-time high of $62k and becoming a billion-dollar asset.

With the cryptocurrency market reaching a $2 trillion market capitalization, corporations, hedge funds, high net-worth individuals, institutions, asset managers, pension funds, and insurance companies are all coming in to invest in the crypto space.

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase’s Listing will Send Other Crypto Companies’ Valuations “Much Higher,” says Kraken CEO

Coinbase’s Listing will Send Other Crypto Companies’ Valuations “Much Higher,” says Kraken CEO

The US exchange is “gearing up” to go public itself. Jesse Powell, meanwhile, sees per Bitcoin worth a Lambo by the end of the year and one Bugatti probably by next year-end.

While Jesse Powell, CEO, and founder of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, believes Bitcoin is going to infinity in his recent interview with Bloomberg, he provided more clarity.

According to him, because of all the money printing that’s going on, it’s hard to comprehend in terms of dollars, “it might be easier to understand if we measure it like in terms of Teslas.”

“By the end of the year, I think it’ll be one bitcoin per Lambo, and probably by the end of next year, it’ll be one bitcoin per Bugatti,” Powell said. One Lamborghini costs in the range of $200,000 to $500,000, while a Buggati’s price starts well over a million dollars.

Tesla started accepting Bitcoin as payment this month following a $1.5 billion investment last month. And thanks to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, “everyone who owns a piece of the S&P 500 now owns a piece of Bitcoin,” and in a single stroke distributing bitcoin to more people than anyone else on the planet,” he added.

And for those who are still on the sidelines, Powell said, they owe themselves to “really take a look at the fundamentals and try to understand why that is. And if you’re not understanding that, I think you must not understand how the existing financial system works and how much benefit there is to the world.”

ETH, DOT, & NFTs

As for other assets, Powell spoke about Ethereum’s PoS transition, in the process of which millions of Ether are being locked for an indefinite amount of time which is constraining the supply.

Powell predicted, “north of two thousand dollars a coin for eth by the end of this year.” ETH is currently trading above $1,800 and made ATH at $2,035 last month.

Powell also mentioned Polkadot DOT 8.89% Polkadot / USD DOTUSD $ 37.13
$3.308.89%
Volume 3.53 b Change $3.30 Open $37.13 Circulating 924.82 m Market Cap 34.34 b
5 h Teeka Tiwari Presents Crypto’s Next Trillion Dollar Coin Event Today 6 h Coinbase’s Listing will Send Other Crypto Companies’ Valuations “Much Higher,” says Kraken CEO 1 d Cosmos (ATOM) Enhances Interoperability with Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) Protocol Rollout
, “which is sort of the next Ethereum,” and said, “you’ll see a lot of things that were on Ethereum be ported over to Polkadot for lower transaction fees.”

He also touched on NFTs, for which there is already a “huge market” as “collectibles business has been around since the dawn of humanity.” Now, it is just moving into the digital format with “tremendous commercial application.”

So, “NFTs are here to stay. Whatever you think about, you know the collectibles segment,” he added.

Valuations Will Go Higher

Talking about Coinbase’s upcoming trading debut in April, Powell said their direct competitor going public is “very exciting.”

While Coinbase was worth about $100 billion pre-IPO, it would “probably be a pop after that.” And because cryptos “really are the future of finance” and can replace everything that exists in the traditional system, “these valuations are very reasonable right now, and they can go much higher.”

This listing, Powell said, will provide them with an example and how to value Kraken.

“Historically, the crypto space has been all private. So we’ve kind of just got to speculate about how the public markets would value these businesses. And I think it’s going to be an indicator for the entire private market. And I think it’s going to send valuations of other crypto companies much higher.”

Kraken itself is on track to go public next year, in the second half, but Powell cautioned that during this time, “anything could happen in the crypto space,” so there’s no guarantee.

But, Powell assured that the exchange is “gearing up” for that by involving in discussions and “doing more acquisitions,” as their clients are constantly looking for ways to participate in the upside and the performance of the business, something that the SEC doesn’t allow.

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Author: AnTy

Millions of Dollars Flow Into Funding Crypto Companies; Digital Asset Bank Avanti, Raises $37 Million

Millions of Dollars Flow Into Funding Crypto Companies; Digital Asset Bank Avanti, Raises $37 Million

“The offering was upsized twice due to market demand,” in its Avanti Bank’s Series A capital funding.

In the ongoing bull market, crypto companies are raising millions of dollars every other day.

Money is flowing into companies dealing with digital assets, and the latest one is Avanti Bank & Trust.

The digital assets bank announced the completion of its Series A capital funding in which it raised $37 million, bringing the total raised capital to date to $44 million.

“The offering was upsized twice due to market demand,” noted the start-up digital asset bank.

Series A shareholders included a global mix of institutional investors, family offices, and cryptocurrency companies like Binance.US, Coinbase Venture, Morgan Creek Digital, Susquehanna Private Equity Investments, The University of Wyoming Foundations, and many others.

“As Bitcoin and digital asset markets mature and financialization network effects take root, there is a tremendous need for both well-crafted laws and experienced, competent operators,” said Trace Mayer, who participated in Series A fund raising.

In its official announcement, Caitlin Long, Avanti’s founder, and CEO shared the bank’s plan to offer API-based U.S. dollar payment services for wires, ACH, and SWIFT and issuance of tokenized, programmable U.S. dollar called Avit along with custody and on-/off-ramp services for digital assets.

Since receiving its bank charter in Oct. 2020, it has received over 2,500 inbound customer inquiries.

In the month of March, we saw the money flowing in huge numbers:

  • Blockchain.com, which raised $300 million at a $5.2 billion valuation,
  • Decentralized project Covalent raising another $2 million,
  • Derivatives trading platform Vega raising $5 million,
  • $23 million by NFT marketplace OpenSea,
  • $133 million by Fireblocks at a $1.8 billion valuation,
  • Bitpanda raised $170 million,
  • DeFi lending protocol Alchemix raising $4.9 million,
  • Crypto exchange aggregator OpenOcean raised $2 million,
  • Decentralized service protocol Automate network was funded for $1 million,
  • Ethereum 2.0 staking protocol StakeWise received funding of $2 million,
  • Rewards-focused startup Eco got $26 million,
  • Bitcoin Rewards App Lolli raised $5 million,
  • CoinSmart crypto exchange raised $3.5M

All of this has happened only in March so far.

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Author: AnTy

Crypto Miners Taking Advantage of Hot Market to Raise Funds

Cryptocurrency companies are taking full advantage of the ongoing bull market. There is a lot of euphoria present in the market as Bitcoin becomes a trillion-dollar asset and the overall crypto market cap grows past $1.7 trillion.

Already, we have seen the leading US exchange Coinbase filing to go public with a whopping $100 billion valuation. This is only expected to lift the market mood further, described by some as a watershed moment for the crypto industry.

Another crypto exchange Kraken is on track to do the same, but not until next year. ICE backed Bakkt took the SPAC route, and so did the Bitcoin miner Cipher.

The same can be seen happening in China, attracting millions of dollars.

Chinese Bitcoin mining machine manufacturer Ebang International Holdings conducted two fundraising rounds just last month. The company that debuted on Nasdaq in June raised $170 million.

Eban plans to use the newly raised capital to expand into crypto mining, to open crypto exchanges in Canada and Singapore, and to launch a Robinhood-like Bitcoin trading platform. Guo Yi, COO at Univest Securities, which underwrote the deals said,

“Ebang’s growth story is very attractive to institutional investors … fundraising by all industry players is getting busier thanks to the bitcoin bull.”

Last month, it also announced that it would be launching Dogecoin (DOGE) and Litecoin (LTC) mining operations, for which they completed a design of a chip for simultaneous mining.

A newcomer, another Chinese company, Code Chain New Continent Ltd, the waste recycling company raised $25 million in February to foray into Bitcoin mining, for which it has ordered 10,000 machines. David Feng, co-CEO of Code Chain said,

“Bitcoin prices present us with a unique opportunity to establish mining operations.”

Another Nasdaq-listed Chinese Bitcoin mining machine maker, Canaan Inc., is expanding into mining.

In private markets, “competition is white-hot and filled with sharp elbows,” said Jehan Chu, managing partner at Hong Kong-based blockchain venture capital firm Kenetic Capital. “Every good-quality funding round is oversubscribed within a week of it being announced.”

Crypto miner Argo Blockchain announced this week that it had raised around £26.8mln (nearly $37.5 million) through a placing of new shares to institutional and other investors. It will allow the company to complete an investment in Pluto Digital Assets and pursue strategic opportunities in crypto mining, decentralized finance (DeFi), and Web 3.0 initiatives.

Cobo, a crypto custodian and wallet service provider, is also planning to launch a new round of venture capital funding this month to finance its international expansion. “The market is bullish, and our business is growing very, very rapidly,” said Jiang Changhao, co-founder and CTO of the Beijing-based company, aiming for tens of millions of dollars.

Amidst this, the world’s largest crypto-mining equipment maker, Bitmain, has been the target of an investigation into illegal talent from Taiwanese firms over a period of three years. Taiwan prohibits firms from China from recruiting locally or doing business without prior approval.

In other news, JPMorgan has filed for a “Cryptocurrency Exposure Basket” through companies that invest in digital assets. The referenced stocks are Riot Blockchain, NVIDIA Corporation, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd., and others.

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Author: AnTy

5% of Companies Plan to Hold Bitcoin as Corporate Asset This Year: Gartner Survey

5% of Companies Plan to Hold Bitcoin as Corporate Asset This Year: Gartner Survey

Some companies are worried about the extreme volatility of Bitcoin. But this is actually a feature, not a bug.

The latest survey conducted by Gartner Inc., consisting of 77 finance executives, including 50 CFOs, showed that 5% of them plan to hold bitcoin on their balance sheet this year.

84% of respondents, however, said they do not plan on ever purchasing the leading digital currency as an asset, which is nearing $52,000.

Volatility was the biggest concern of these naysayers, with 84% of respondents saying Bitcoin’s wild price swings pose a financial risk, the February survey said.

“It would be extremely difficult to mitigate the kind of price swings seen in the cryptocurrency in the last five years,” said Alexander Bant, chief of research at Gartner Finance.

According to Mike McGlone, a commodity strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, who sees $100,000 as a longer-term target, the volatility may continue to rise in the near term “until it settles in around its next plateau.”

For the crypto market, the famed volatility is actually a feature rather than a bug. Antoni Trenchev, the co-founder of crypto lender Nexo, reminded that Bitcoin never moves up in a straight line and

“Short-term volatility is very much a feature of this bull market.”

Besides volatility, broader risk aversion, digital currency’s slow adoption as an accepted form of payment, regulatory concerns, and cyber risks were also among the concerns.

“There are a lot of unresolved issues when it comes to the use of Bitcoin as a corporate asset. It’s unlikely that adoption will increase rapidly until we get more clarity on these challenges,” Bant said.

The survey came while publicly-listed MicroStrategy shared its plan to issue another debt round of $690 million to add to its 71,079 BTC stash. Earlier this month, Elon Musk’s Tesla also bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin.

“The mood, music, and momentum is impossible to ignore,” said Trenchev. “To the annoyance of many, the Bitcoin express has left the station.”

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Author: AnTy

CNBC Mad Money Host, Jim Cramer, Calls Companies Not Owning any Bitcoin ‘Irresponsible’

CNBC Mad Money Host, Jim Cramer, Calls Companies Not Owning any Bitcoin ‘Irresponsible’

According to the “Mad Money” host, every treasurer should be calling for putting a portion of their cash in Bitcoin.

It’s “almost irresponsible” for companies not to own Bitcoin, says Jim Cramer, the host of “Mad Money” in an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Sorkin.

Just this week, Tesla announced that they had bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin (around 7.7%), and this endorsement from the major US has released a flurry of speculation regarding which company would be the next to join in.

While some don’t feel the same way, much like JPMorgan strategists who see it “unlikely” that more mainstream corporations would follow Tesla in BTC allocation, others expect the herd is coming.

“As far as a way to be able to have a pastiche of things to do with your cash, I’m all for it.” said the former hedge fund manager on Tuesday.

“I think it’s almost irresponsible not to include it. Every treasurer should be going to boards of directors and saying should we put a small portion of our cash in Bitcoin.”

Hedge against Fiat Currency

Cramer shared that he personally owns Bitcoin — “I own bitcoin. I’ve owned it for some time” — and called it “an alternative to a cash position, where you make absolutely nothing.”

Last year in December, Cramer tweeted that he was thinking of buying some BTC, and shortly after, in an interview with TheStreet, he decided to buy some under $18k but didn’t mention just how much exactly.

“Bitcoin is exciting,” he said on Tuesday, adding that he believes in the validity of the cryptocurrency while arguing that it could be used as a hedge against inflation or an equity portfolio.

“It seems to be an interesting way to hedge against the rest of the environment, nice hedge against fiat currency.”

A Trip to Higher Levels

Though Cramer noted that there are a lot of buyers and promoters of the leading digital currency, which is not the case for the seller at this time,

“you have to have some kind of hedge on it. Because if you take it and it goes down, I think that you’re gonna end up saying why did I use bitcoin when I could actually transact in dollars.”

The price of Bitcoin, which shot past a record high of $48,000 following the Tesla announcement, for now, is keeping around $46,500.

Calling Bitcoin a “little inflated,” he pointed out that “there’s plenty of people who say it could go to $100,000.”

Michael Novogratz of crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital is one such bull who sees the prices of Bitcoin going to $100,000 by the end of this year. He is also of the same opinion as Cramer and sees “every company in America do the same thing.”

“Young people are buying into the future, and they see cryptocurrencies – bitcoin and other cryptos – as their currencies.”

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Author: AnTy

Canadian Firm, Accelerate, Files for a Bitcoin ETF (ABTC) on Toronto Stock Exchange

Companies have a growing demand to launch Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as the cryptocurrency market settles above the 41 trillion market cap. Accelerate Financial Technologies, a Canadian fintech firm, is the latest to file and obtain a receipt for a preliminary prospectus with the Canadian financial regulators to launch its Accelerate Bitcoin ETF under the ticker “ABTC.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, Accelerate confirmed a share of ABTC units have filed for listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange but are yet to receive conditional approval on the listing. ABTC will offer U.S. dollar-denominated units and Canadian dollar-denominated units, with a management fee of 0.70%.

Accelerate launched its first Bitcoin fund in 2017, providing its clients with one of Canada’s most innovative and fastest-growing alternative investment solutions. Julian Klymochko, CEO and founder of Accelerate, said, “he has always been an advocate of the asset class” given the coins’ past performance. Klymochko added,

“Bitcoin has been one of the best-performing asset classes on a 1-year, 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year basis, both absolute and risk-adjusted. Given bitcoin’s historical track record and future potential, along with its portfolio diversification properties, we are looking forward to offering investors exposure to the asset class in an easy-to-use, low-cost ETF.”

The demand for Bitcoin ETFs seems to be back after a long layoff in the market following VanEck’s rejected proposals by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2018. The company has once again filed for a Bitcoin ETF, claiming it will hold physical BTC this time.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Nasdaq-listed Bitcoin Mining Companies Rally Following Big Machine Orders

Nasdaq-listed Bitcoin Mining Companies Rally Following Big Machine Orders

Nasdaq-listed Marathon Patent Group (MARA) has announced the pre-order purchase of 70,000 Antminer S-19 ASIC miners from Bitmain for $170 million.

With this latest order, which is the largest purchase both in dollars and for S-19 ASIC miners that Bitmain has received, that would increase the size of Marathon’s fleet by 3x.

Marathon, one of the largest bitcoin mining companies in North America, will be receiving the initial shipment in July 2021 and the final batch will come in December 2021.

This will bring the total machines under Marathon at 103,000 with a total mining capacity of 10.36 exahashes per second (EH/s). The order came after the holiday weekend that saw Bitcoin breaking multiple levels of ATH.

The news pushed MARA shares up 24% in the pre-market. Trading around $12.25, the shares are up 98% this month and more than a 1,000% YTD.

On Monday, another Nasdaq-listed bitcoin mining company Riot Blockchain’s (RIOT) shares jumped 28.5% before closing the day at $15.65. These gains pushed the market cap of the company past $1 billion. In 2020, the shares of the Castle Rock-based firm have gained more than 1,250%, so far.

Riot, which made a shift from biotech to bitcoin mining in Oct. 2017, has also expanded the size of its mining operations this year by purchasing 31,000 new ASIC mining machines and planning a project to test water immersion cooling technology.

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Author: AnTy

Fidelity Digital Assets Dives Into Why Institutions Are Adding Bitcoin to Treasury Reserves

Over the year, several companies have chosen to add Bitcoin to their Treasury reserves, including MicroStrategy, Square Inc., and Tudor Investment Corporation. The latest two, Canada-based BIGG Digital Assets and MassMutual, a 169-year old insurance firm, also added $3.6 million and $100 million in BTC to their reserves in 2020, respectively.

As one of the first institutional investment-focused firms on Bitcoin, Fidelity Digital Assets released a synthesis report on the growing number of institutions adding BTC as a treasury reserve asset – and crucially, why more companies will consider adding Bitcoin-backed treasuries in the future.

From August through October, a billion-dollar publicly traded firm, MicroStrategy, added over 40,000 Bitcoin for $475 million into its Treasury coffers. Less than three months later, Michael Saylor, MicroStrategy’s CEO, announced a doubled down bet on BTC selling $635 million of senior convertible notes to purchase the ‘digital gold.’

The huge bet paid off wonderfully across Q4 2020 for MicroStrategy’s stock (MSTR), which reached a 20-year high after the firm recorded over 50% profit on its BTC Treasury reserves. Despite CITI Bank downgrading its stock from “neutral” to “sell” in their latest report (due to “disproportionate focus on BTC), the firm looks to add even more, Saylor confirmed.

Additionally, Square Inc., founded by Twitter CEO and Bitcoin enthusiast Jack Dorsey, introduced BTC buying and selling through Cash App earlier in the year. The payments firm purchased $50 million worth of bitcoin (or 4,709 bitcoins) in October 2020, representing 1% of their Treasury reserve.

Other institutions such as Stone Ridge, Mode Global Holdings PLC, and Tudor Investment Corporation have also announced Bitcoin allocations this year.

So what is causing a sudden increase in corporations adopting Bitcoin-backed Treasury reserves?

Damaged financials, cash flows, and profitability

According to the report, three main issues affect a corporation’s decision to hold BTC in its reserves. First, the global COVID-19 pandemic “damaged corporate balance sheets, cash flows, and profitability,” which put most corporations in a precarious position. The sudden reduction in cash flows raises the importance for these institutions to put away excess cash in uncorrelated investments to fight off the recession.

Bitcoin is well-diversified from the demand shocks that health and economic crises cause on stocks, bonds, and traditional finance markets. The report further states,

“Companies may also benefit from bitcoin’s diversification benefits, potential outperformance, and liquidity profile when the core business and other potential investments are disadvantaged by the state of the economy”.

Moreover, BTC offers companies the potential of a longer-term investment profile while also offering liquidity to shorter-term investors. This will help companies maintain their liquidity while diversifying their investments, providing a buffer in difficult times.

Ultra-low interest rates across the world

Secondly, interest rates across the world reached yearly lows as the pandemic struck to stimulate borrowing. However, while corporations may rejoice in having a cheaper leeway for acquiring debt or refinancing existing debt at lower rates, companies with excess cash reserves may suffer as they cannot find attractive rates, the report explains.

While safe-haven assets like gold and Bitcoin generally do not generate interest yields, having these assets in your portfolio prevents cash-filed companies from avoiding negative or ultra-low interest rates, the report also states.

Inflation strikes

Finally, there has been an increase in monetary and fiscal policies globally, with money printing reaching “unprecedented levels.” McKinsey’s report showed that the top 54 economies contributing to 93% of global GDP made over $10 trillion in stimulus payments in two months – over three times more than the 2008 financial crisis. This unchecked and unbalanced economic stimulus could cause a sudden hike in asset and consumer price inflation leading to corporations having less purchasing power with cash.

Bitcoin offers a verifiable and inelastic monetary supply, which differs from the expansive monetary and fiscal currently being broadcast globally. Some companies view BTC as a wealth preserving asset that could prevent inflation risk and store value.

The entry of MicroStrategy, Home Ridge, Square Inc., and Tudor Investment Corporation signals a start of the institutional investment wave in Bitcoin – and who can predict how far it can go?

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Author: Lujan Odera

Chinese Tech Firms Didi, Meituan, & Bilibili Launch Lottery-Based Trials for Digital Yuan

Tests for China’s digital yuan are still ongoing as companies continue to join the People’s Bank in its efforts to digitize the currency.

This week, local news source CLS confirmed that three large internet companies had joined the tests in what appears to be a lottery-style trial.

Everyone Welcome

As the news explained, Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-hailing service in the country, had joined commercial products and bike-sharing company Meituan and video-sharing site Bilibili on a lottery-based trial of the digital yuan. The test will focus on Suzhou, a region on the western side of Shanghai.

The report explained that the trial launched earlier today, and it will involve about 10,000 residents in the city. These residents will vie for about 200 digital yuan units each, which they can spend at merchant stores with point-of-sale technology.

In addition to retail spending, the winners can spend the tokens on the three companies’ services. They can order rides on Didi, pay for bike-sharing on Meituan, and spend on new features from Bilibili’s site. It is unclear how long the trial will last, but it continues what appears to be a series of rests and implementations for the digital yuan.

All Hands on Deck

The companies are just a shortlist in a line of corporations looking to test the digital yuan. The Peoples’ Bank has incorporated several other companies for the better part of the year, with names including Alipay and WeChat Pay, the country’s two largest payment processors.

In October, Huawei, the country’s largest smartphone manufacturer, announced on its Weibo channel that its next flagship device – the Mate40 series – will come with a hardware wallet for the digital yuan. Touting it as a channel to be a part of China’s digital revolution, Huawei explained that the wallet would provide optimal privacy and anonymity.

The wallets will also feature dual transactions, ensuring that users can complete transactions by touching two compatible phones, even without any internet connection.

The tests have also gone beyond just tech companies. Economic Information Daily reported in October that gas stations in Shenzhen had begun accepting the asset. As the news medium confirmed, 11 gas stations had been integrated into the program, and more would join.

The program was the brainchild of Guangdong Petroleum, a state-owned oil, and gas firm. Participating outlets come fitted with barcode readers to ensure easy and quick payments. Guangdong praised the asset’s speed and security, explaining that reviews of its use had been positive. It is expected that these trials have ended already.

A similar giveaway to what is happening in Suzhou also occurred in the Luohu District of Shenzhen. Per a Sina Finance report, the district’s government started a program to send ten million units of the asset (worth about $1.5 million) to 50,000 residents via a lottery.

Unlike this program, however, that one focused primarily on retailers and brick-and-mortar shops across the region.

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Author: Jimmy Aki