Goldman Sachs Joins Blockchain Infrastructure Company’s $28 Million Funding Round

Goldman Sachs Joins Blockchain Infrastructure Company’s $28 Million Funding Round

Blockdaemon has been acquiring many institutional clients who are starting to allow their customers to buy Bitcoin and Ether before branching out to protocols that pay interest on tokens.

Blockdaemon has raised $28 million from lead investor Greenspring Associates along with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

BlockFi, Warburg Serres, Uphold, and Voyager Digital Ltd., were other investors in the Series A fund-raising, as per the company statement.

The firm that creates and hosts the computer nodes for the blockchain network is planning to make acquisitions and double its headcount to 100. With the latest funding, the company aims to “help institutions quickly and securely scale blockchain infrastructure.”

Over the past year, the company has seen rapid growth and gained customers, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, PayPal Holdings, Robinhood Markets, and E*Trade.

“We’re selling ten times what we did a year ago, mostly to new institutions coming into the space,” said Chief Executive Officer Konstantin Richter.

In the first quarter of 2021, Blockdaemon reported a net income of $18 million and revenue at about $24 million.

Goldman Sachs, which led the $15 million investment into data provider Coin Metrics, contributed $5 million to the Blockdaemon round. “It’s been a long dialogue with them,” Ritcher said.

The CEO further shared in an interview that he’s been seeing a progression among large financial firms that starts with them allowing their customers to buy Bitcoin and Ether before branching out to protocols that pay interest on tokens to secure the network.

“Large institutions are getting serious about paying yield on tokens out to their customers,” he said. “It shows that large financial institutions over time will want to rival Coinbase” by copying its model of easier ways to buy and earn interest on various digital coins.

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Author: AnTy

Tesla Simply Trimmed its BTC Position, Which Remains Increased as a Percentage of its Balance Sheet

While CEO Elon Musk points to liquidity, CFO reiterates the company’s long-term belief in the value of Bitcoin.

Electric car maker Tesla released its earnings report, which revealed that the company sold a small portion of their $1.5 billion Bitcoin investment.

Tesla sold about 10% of its holdings and generated $101 million in income from it.

But of course, the BTC sold wasn’t at the cost of acquisition. Tesla’s $1.5 billion investment was already doubled, increased in value by $1.7 billion. The company only sold $272 million out of the total increased holdings in USD terms at $3.2 billion.

Tesla just trimmed its position, and as Nic Carter of Coin Metrics noted a few days back, many allocators have target bands, and they aim to keep the share of their portfolio relatively fixed.

“So if BTC rallies, they take profits, and if BTC sells off, they buy. This is countercyclical & suppresses volatility,” he said at the time.

Reporting a $272 million gain on “digital assets,” the company said on Monday that it generated $101 million in income from the Bitcoin Investment that helped it beat analysts’ estimates for profit in the first quarter.

Bitcoin accounted for much of Tesla’s record profit in Q1 as stripping out the Bitcoin gain, Tesla’s adjusted net income was $337 million, roughly the same as the Q3 2020 at $331 million.

The crypto market was initially perturbed by the news, and the price of Bitcoin dipped about 3.3%. But soon, the concerns were lifted as CEO Elon Musk explained,

“I have not sold any of my Bitcoin. Tesla sold 10% of its holdings essentially to prove liquidity of Bitcoin as an alternative to holding cash on balance sheet.”

The price then went even higher, and currently, it is trading around $55k, as Tesla’s chief financial officer further reiterated the company’s commitment to the cryptocurrency.

“We do believe long-term in the value of Bitcoin,” CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said on the conference call. “It is our intent to hold what we have long-term and continue to accumulate Bitcoin from transactions from our customers as they purchase vehicles.”

The company reported a record quarter with its automotive gross profit margin at 25.8% or 21.1% after slashing the regulatory credits. In absolute dollar terms, this was the biggest quarter ever at about $2.25 billion.

Vehicle deliveries also set a new record recording an increase of 31%. But model S and X only had 2,000 deliveries, 89% fewer than the last quarter.

Tesla, which has been leading the global market with a 24% market share, sees a slight drop as the share of other companies like Volkswagen AG is seeing a jump, from 4% to almost 9%.

But according to Tesla, “As more OEMs join our mission by launching EVs, we believe consumer confidence in EVs continues to increase, and more customers are willing to make the switch,” it said in a statement.

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Author: AnTy

Chinese Publicly Listed Company Buys Bitcoin (BTC) and $17.9M Ether (ETH)

While Meitu’s Bitcoin purchase is part of the company’s asset allocation strategy, the company bought Ether in preparation to enter the blockchain industry.

China’s beauty app Meitu Inc. has become the latest corporation to invest in cryptocurrency as the company buys $22.1 million worth of Bitcoin, 379.1 BTC, and $17.9 million worth of Ether, 15,000 ETH in the open market on March 5, revealed in the Sunday evening exchange filing.

It isn’t only US companies anymore; Tesla, Square, and MicroStrategy, that are accumulating Bitcoin and Ether on their balance sheets.

The company’s crypto purchase pushed Meitu’s prices as much as 14.4% Monday before succumbing to the wide market selloff.

While the Hong Kong-listed company has bought the crypto assets only now, Meitu’s founder announced in mid-2018 that he personally bought 10k+ BTC. In recent years Cai Wensheng, Meitu’s chairman and a crypto enthusiast, has also been exploring blockchain technology.

Meitu, an app that helps touch up user-profile pictures, is a $10 billion company with 50 million daily active users that launched Hong Kong’s biggest initial public offering in 2016.

It took the crypto route as part of the company’s plan to use as much as $100 million of its cash hoard to fund crypto purchases.

The company believes the prices of digital assets have “ample room” to appreciate in value, and they can help diversify its portfolio. It also notes that cash is now “subject to depreciation pressure due to aggressive increases in money supply by central banks globally.”

Wensheng says Bitcoin has several features that potentially even render Bitcoin “as a superior form to other alternative stores of value such as gold, precious stone and real estate.”

While Bitcoin is part of the company’s asset allocation strategy, the company purchased Ether in preparation to enter the blockchain industry. The document reads,

“Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt both existing financial and technology industries, similar to the manner in which mobile internet has disrupted the PC internet and many other offline industries.”

It further states that the company believes the blockchain industry is “still in its early stage, analogous to the mobile internet industry in circa 2005.”

Meitu is evaluating the feasibility of integrating blockchain technology in its overseas businesses, and given that Ether powers the second largest network, purchasing it was a “logical preparation,” the filing said.

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Author: AnTy

Guggenheim CIO Urges Market to Sell Bitcoin Ahead of Company’s Investment in GBTC

Guggenheim CIO Urges Market to Sell Bitcoin Ahead of Company’s Investment in GBTC

After calling for $400k the day BTC broke $20k, Scott Minerd is now calling to take off profits as the market records a pullback.

“Time to take some money off the table,” is what Scott Minerd, Global Chief Investment Officer at Guggenheim Partners, is advising Bitcoin traders and investors.

According to Minerd, “Bitcoin’s parabolic rise is unsustainable in the near term. Vulnerable to a setback. The target technical upside of $35,000 has been exceeded.”

Minerd’s comments came in the middle of the market correction that saw Bitcoin falling to nearly $32,000, a pullback of just under 25%, which took the entire crypto market down with it.

Interestingly, since December, while the address with small BTC holdings saw a drop, those holding big amounts of BTC grew even during the current dip, noted Elias Sim of BisonTrails.

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Just last month, the day Bitcoin price broke past its 2017 peak of $20k, Minerd predicted $400,000 per BTC driven by the digital asset’s scarcity combined with the Federal Reserve’s “rampant money printing.”

“Our fundamental work shows that Bitcoin should be worth about $400,000,” Minerd told Bloomberg, adding, ”Bitcoin actually has a lot of the attributes of gold and at the same time has an unusual value in terms of transactions.”

Minerd’s comments to take off profits came while Guggenheim’s SEC filing to invest $500 million in Bitcoin via Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust Fund (GBTC) becomes effective on Jan. 31. The firm hasn’t received a green light from the SEC yet.

Guggenheim has actually been looking to buy BTC since it was trading around $10k, and Minerd called it “a little more challenging” when the digital asset was at $20k.

“Sounds like he wants everyone to dump so his firm may buy the dip,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger about Minerd’s commentary. Kruger further noted that “No money manager with the capacity to move the market announces is going to sell.”

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Author: AnTy

The ‘Amazon of Blockchain’ Will Take Off in the Next 2 Years: Ripple SVP Tells Zuckerberg

While Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse is talking about the wellbeing of the team being the company’s highest priority as such transitioning to remote work and the “unprecedented new reality,” Asheesh Birla, SVP of Product and Corporate Development at Ripple shared with Randi Zuckerberg that Ripple would be taking off in the next 2 years. She tweeted,

Zuckerberg had Birla, the former Vice President of Global Technology at Thomson Reuters on her show as a guest where he shared how the fintech startup is “revolutionizing” the way payment moves by using a digital asset, XRP to move money fast and at cheaper costs effectively across borders.

Ripple is basically “frictionless motion,” in making payments more effective that people don’t even know when using their iPhones and IP technology. “I’m excited that we’re seeing real world adoption and that the technology is really improving,” said Birla.

Ripple: “Amazon of Blockchain”

It was in 2013 that Birla joined Ripple, a year after it was co-founded by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb, who has also co-founded another cryptocurrency, Stellar, focused on payments.

“I made a smart decision to join a startup that was involved in the internet wave right out of college. I loved being involved in something that was creating something out of nothing and then Blockchain made me feel the same way.”

As for Ripple, he said, he has “found the Amazon of Blockchain with Ripple,” whose mission was to “efficiently and safely move money as quickly as information moves today.”

As other Ripple executives have repeatedly emphasized, Birla also stressed that the market needs those “solving real problems with blockchain.” One just needs to identify how their product is better by using the blockchain, a distributed ledger technology underpinning the cryptocurrencies, and “really focus on that.”

And the point of using blockchain is to remove the intermediary, either banks or other financial institutions, he said.

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Author: AnTy

Bill Gates Steps Down from Microsoft’s Board; Commits $1.4M to Blockchain Project CREST

  • Microsoft Co-founder, Bill Gates, is stepping down from the company’s board according to a press release on March 13.
  • The veteran IT mogul will focus on his philanthropic initiatives which include tackling climate change, global health, and education.
  • Bill Gates will still, however, advise Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella and other directors within the company in matters technology.

This transition has been gradual and began when Gates opted out of a day to day role at Microsoft back in 2008. At the time, he was looking to focus on the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and would later step down from being Microsoft’s board chairman in early 2014.

Nadella highlighted that Microsoft was grateful for the contribution by Gates since he founded the company in 1975;

“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years. Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society’s most pressing challenges.”

Given the developments around the distributed ledger tech, Microsoft and its founder have since indulged in blockchain-based projects to provide solutions.

Microsoft’s and Bill Gates Support for Blockchain

Notably, Microsoft has been active in the blockchain development space especially through its cloud platform, Azure. Towards the end of 2019, the firm launched a blockchain-oriented ecosystem that allows interested developers to leverage building tools for distributed networks.

Bill Gates has also been directly involved in this industry; the Microsoft co-founder recently supported a blockchain initiative meant to scale activity in Africa and Asia. This project dubbed ‘Crest’ was funded to a tune of $1.4 million at the beginning of March and is set to use the proceeds for scaling financial services to the unbanked.

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Author: Edwin Munyui