Paradigm Launches Largest New VC Crypto Fund, Valkyrie and Coinbase Targets DeFi

Coinbase believes it “can bring billions of users to DeFi by making it easy to use” while Valkyrie launches a $100 million “On-Chain DeFi Fund.”

On Monday, San Francisco-based investment firm Paradigm announced that it is starting a $2.5 billion venture capital fund aimed at the “next generation of crypto companies and protocols.”

Coinbase co-founder Fred Ersham co-founded Paradigm with former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang which would be the largest new VC fund aimed at the industry, according to the Finance Times.

Launched during the bear market of 2018, the firm’s fundraising outruns VC giant Andreessen Horowitz’s (a16z) $2.2 billion fund earlier in 2021.

There has been a record-breaking venture capital raising activity this year, highlighting a continuing boom in the crypto industry.

“This new fund and its size are reflective of crypto being the most exciting frontier in technology. Over the past decade, crypto has come a long way,” Ersham and Huang wrote in a blog post on Monday.

The crypto investment of Paradigm involves both big and small, as much as $100 million-plus or as little as $1 million, and intends to continue to invest in startups with “just a glimmer of an idea” as well as later-stage companies.

Zeroing in on DeFi

Crypto asset manager Valkyrie Investments is also launching a $100 million decentralized finance (DeFi) fund next week. The fund is designed to give investors easy and safe exposure to the rapidly growing industry.

Last month, Valkyrie received approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) which would start trading on Tuesday.

Now, it is launching the “On-Chain DeFi Fund,” which is going live on Nov. 22 and targets accredited investors in the US and the majority of international countries. The Fund holds its assets on-chain, unlike Galaxy Digital’s recently launched DeFi tracker fund, which is managed passively.

This Fund will allow Valkyrie to participate in the upside of DeFi while gaining additional yield from lending, liquidity pools, farming, and staking in the DeFi ecosystem.

“We get the appreciation plus the compounded yield generated from on-chain DeFi participation,” Valkyrie’s Managing Director of DeFi, Wes Cowan, said in an interview.

The Fund will invest in most of the major DeFi protocols, including Ethereum, Solana, Avalanche, Binance Smart Chain, Fantom, and Matic.

When assessing the risk associated with DeFi investing, the firm’s investment counsel works to determine what percentage of the portfolio should be in stablecoins, which are also deployed on-chain to generate yield.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is also interested in DeFi and has divided its overall strategy into three “pillars” where the third one is about “crypto as an app platform” focusing on allowing users access to applications.

“We plan eventually to service third-party apps inside our main product and so that we’re going to be agnostic between a customer choosing a Coinbase product or a third-party DeFi product. We want to introduce and find the best product for our customers,” said CFO Alesia Haas while speaking at the fintech-focused event hosted by Citi.

As an app platform, the company will help DeFi in two ways — building tools to accelerate the builders in the ecosystem through Coinbase Cloud, an opportunity it expects to be large in the future as more companies want to offer crypto services to their customers, and helping with the distribution where it acts as a “bridge to DeFi.”

Coinbase believes it “can bring billions of users to DeFi by making it easy to use,” and both the exchange and DeFi “can and will successfully grow and coexist,” Hass said.

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Author: AnTy

MetaMask Rolls Out Mobile Wallet on iOS and Android; Buy Ethereum Directly with Apple Pay

  • MetaMask launches its mobile app allowing users easy access to wallet services.
  • Available on Apple iOS and Android

Following the launch of its public V1 version, ConsenSys (who purchased MetaMask recently) announced on Thursday the launch of its MetaMask Mobile app. The app aims to provide a secure, fast, and easy-to-use wallet for Ether (ETH) and Ethereum-based tokens on the phone. The mobile app will now be available to both iOS and Android users.

According to a statement obtained by BEG, the MetaMask Mobile version will provide similar services to its web version without compromising on the security of the token vaults. However, unlike the web-based version, the mobile version is a native cryptocurrency wallet that will interact with dApps installed on the phone or entering the dApp URL on a built-in web browser.

MetaMask is a crypto wallet that functions as a web browser extension allowing users to connect to web-based dApps directly easily. The platform securely stores ETH and Ethereum based tokens allowing easy and frictionless transactions on any dApp.

The MetaMask mobile version also comes with an easy payment gateway for those who want to purchase ETH and ERC-based tokens. A report from Mashable confirms the mobile crypto wallet will allow users to buy crypto using Apple Pay, debit cards, or other payment methods (depending on the country).

MetaMask remains the DApp wallet of choice even in the rise of DeFi, with ConsenSys stating the wallet has over 4 million users. The MetaMask Mobile app was released in a closed beta version back in 2019, with 135,000 users testing it.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Twitter Found the Solution to Bitcoin Scams, No More Cryptocurrency Addresses Allowed

That’s right!

It was this easy, just not let anyone post cryptocurrency addresses on Twitter, no more crypto scams.

When trying to post a tweet containing a cryptocurrency address, Twitter prompts the message “Something went wrong, but don’t fret — let’s give it another shot” in a glaring red strip.

Well, given that hackers are smart and always one step ahead of companies, it won’t be long before they find a solution. They don’t even need addresses; their one-page website seems to do the trick already. Soon, deep-fakes are expected to “revolutionize the scam market” already, as reported by the Crypto Whales in its report.

Moreover, companies are not proactive, it takes several attempts to report a scammer, and it still doesn’t get it down.

Twitter’s latest ban of crypto addresses altogether from the social networking platform could be just a fix before they find the solution, which comes after last night’s major Twitter accounts including the likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kanye West and many more getting hacked and used to promote bitcoin-related scams.

Twitter is currently investigating the hack, which is believed to be a “coordinated social engineering attack” by using the “internal systems and tools.”

All the accounts hacked asked people to send them bitcoin in order to get it double, and the hacker was able to swipe nearly 13 BTC, worth about $120,000.

These kinds of scams aren’t anything new. They have been going on for a long time, given that the scammer was able to get only 13 BTC out of it.

As we reported, in just the first six months of 2020, scammers made off with about $24 million in BTC, which is predicted by Crypto Whale to reach $50 million by this year-end, over twenty-fold since 2017.

Also, BTC giveaways bearing the name of Tesla CEO and the founder and CEO of SpaceX, Musk has already been raking in more than $2 million in a matter of months.

Earlier this year, Musk called out the scams saying, “the crypto scam level on Twitter is reaching new levels,” in response to such a giveaway scam.

He urged people to “report [the scam] as soon as you see it,” and encouraged Twitter to delete the bots and scammer accounts.

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Author: AnTy

A $6.6 Million Seed Round Startup Launches “Easy” Crypto Purchasing Services

  • Ziglu, a cryptocurrency startup based in London, launches allowing an easy, safe and reliable crypto purchase gateway.

An official report released by Ziglu on June 15, 2020 confirms the launch of crypto marketplace and exchange, Ziglu after a $6.6 million seed round funding from friends and other angel investors. According to CEO of Ziglu, Mark Hipperson, the exchange is aiming to bring to its customers the best, cheapest and fastest ways to purchase multiple cryptocurrencies from one place.

Over the past few years, cryptocurrency has taken a hold growing to a massive ~$200 billion market capitalization in a decade. The growth of the market enticed more banks to take up the role of providing a gateway for crypto purchases and withdrawals. Hipperson however believes the market has changed a lot since the early days and hence has a strategy to do things different.

As the competition to offer avenues to purchase crypto heats up, Hipperson believes the current buyers of crypto are looking for a safe and easy way to get their crypto. Speaking on the launch of Ziglu, Hipperson said,

“This launch marks the beginning of an exciting journey for Ziglu to deliver transformational financial services for our customers. By offering immediate and safe access to best-price crypto, customers can spend, exchange and send their money, regardless of the currency, where, when and how they want.”

Ziglu will allow users to buy and sell multiple cryptocurrencies on the platform including BTC, ETH, LTC and BCH with about “15 cryptocurrencies expected to be added this year” according to demand, Hipperson said.

The statement also confirms a possible debit card launch in the coming quarter to allow users to spend their crypto easily. Ziglu is currently available on the iOS Apple Store for mobile devices.

Hipperson also spoke on the effects of the current COVID-19 global pandemic on the launch of Ziglu. The application will partner with two exchanges (instead of the planned five) at launch with more exchanges expected at a later date.

Ziglu enters an arena full of competitors including Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey’s Square app, which together with Grayscale Trust combine for a total of 50% of Bitcoin daily purchases from miners. The app recently rolled out new features that allows users to stack satoshis on a daily, weekly or monthly automatically.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Research by Bitmex Reveals That Bitcoin Decentralization Is Due to Scalability Improvement

A recent study by BitMex shows that software improvements have made it easy for Bitcoin node synchronization. The study calculated Bitcoin Core’s Initial Block Download times of software released between 2012 and 2019. These are the number of times required to download and verify the blockchain. The comprehensive report on the study was published on November 29.

According to the report, it was impossible to synchronize using the older Bitcoin Core software version. The improvements in the newest version of the software have made it easy to operationalize the network.

Bitcoin Core software versions before 0.8.6 could not synchronize in the period between 2015 and 2016. When the research team tried to run older versions of the software in significantly powerful hardware, they were not operational. They run Bitcoin Core 0.7.0 in a new machine with 8 intel i9 processor and a 64GB RAM, but the node still could not synchronize past the year 2016.

“Were it not for the software enhancement, Bitcoin would be dead by now due to the inability of older versions to synchronize and the significant reduction in IBD times,” the team reported.

The major improvement was on speed after developers of version 0.12.0 employed a signature verification library for Bitcoin instead of using the standard one. However, this version could not support Segregated witness (SegWit) and therefore failed to validate signatures for such transactions, further leading to a cut on sync times.

When Bitcoin Core version o.14.0 was launched, speed and sync times significantly increased due to the scalability improvements. It was after this particular node version that Bitcoin network popularity began to grow faster than scalability updates made to the software. This imbalance resulted in longer synchronization times. The research team came to the conclusion that the blockchain is growing faster than the technological innovations can keep up with and that there is a possibility of IBD times increasing.

Bitcoin developers are focused on decentralization and keeping requisite hardware specifications necessary to run Bitcoin Core software seamlessly. They have maintained a block weigh limit of 4MB with SegWit and a block time of 10 min in order to lower requirements and check the blockchain’s growth.

The blockchain currently has a size of 293.37GB, with 1MB as the average block size. According to Bitnodes, a monitoring resource, Bitcoin Blockchain has more than 9.5 thousand nodes around the world.

Bitcoin Core version is the latest software update, and it supports Segregated Witness transactions using Bech32, further improving on scalability.

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Author: Denis Miriti

Leaked Internal Bitmain Meeting Transcript Shows Mining Company’s Leadership Troubles

Bitmain is not having an easy time right now. A transcript of a staff meeting has recently surfaced online and it shows that there is a power struggle happening inside the largest mining rig manufacturer in the world.

The documents, which were obtained by the crypto media outlet Coindesk, show the co-founder Jihan Wu explaining why he abruptly ousted Micree Ketuan Zhan, the second co-founder of the firm.

Wu, previously had stepped down from his management role back in December 2018, came back as Bitmain’s chairman this week. One of his first actions was to notify Zhan that he would be dismissed from all his roles in the company. The reason for that, Wu believes, is that Zhan escalated a simple disagreement into a power struggle, so he had to act.

Both executives have “butted heads” since 2015, but the situation only became more tense this year, when Wu and other execs chose to lay people off. Zhan disagreed and took the decision to mid-level management executives, who sided with his opponents. After that, Zhan started to become bitter and has made several decisions that escalated the power struggle to the next level.

Wu said in Tuesday’s meeting:

“Everyone knows in 2018, the company spent unnecessary and hasty investment everywhere on research and development projects and hiring dozens and hundreds of people without a second thought. Everyone supported the layoffs.”

2019 has certainly not been a great year for Bitmain, as the market share of the company is declining while its rivals taking it. Canaan, InnoSilicon and WhatsMiner have all grown this year.

Wu accused the other co-founder of betting on “crazy ideas” like artificial intelligence and not being focused enough on the bread and butter of the company: mining equipment. Now that the conflicts did not seem to slow in their escalation, Wu made the decision to remove his old friend out of the way.

Wu stated,

“Some said inside the company, I’m the one who handles business and Zhan handles technology. I want to ask, between Zhan and I, who really has a love for the technology? Zhan doesn’t love technology, he loves that feeling of fulfilling his endless desire for power. He doesn’t love technology, he loves vanity. Folks, we have no options but to keep Zhan away from this company.”

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Hacker Returns Stolen Ethereum Domains Names; Offered 25% Of Auction As Bug Bounty Reward

It’s easy to fall into a lull of new technology. To accept that everything new that comes your way, and is already tested for every possible mishap.

A hacker broke this illusion when they first stole, then returned the 17 Ethereum Name Server (ENS) domain name’s to OpenSea. They managed to exploit a bug that allowed them to buy the ENS domains for a lower bid than everyone else. Whoever it was tried to capitalize on their discovery, but was already within Opensea’s radar before they could get a large number of domains.

Among the short names of their acquisitions, apple.eth, love.eth, and wallet.eth stand at the forefront. Highly lucrative domains to own and then sell back to major groups. The way blockchain works is a beautiful thing, but it’s sheer immutability made it impossible for OpenSea to get it back after the hacker had captured them. Their only option was to blacklist the names and ask the hacker very nicely to give it back.

And the hacker did, but not out of love and charity. OpenSea promised the hacker a hefty 25% commission on every auction of the domain names they gave back. Whether or not the hacker’s intents were genuine or not, it’s honestly impossible to say.

The mystery with hackers, mainly unidentified ones like this one, is the intent. There are white hats, those out to better the Internet as a whole with their hacks. There are black hats, those out just for their own personal gain. There are even red hats, a weird mix of both.

OpenSea Owns Up, Plugs the Leak, Returns to Business

OpenSea had released an official statement apologizing for the exploit even existing. It’s sometimes easy to forget that massive bodies like these can also only be human. This hacker that captured those 17 domain names is the only one that managed to exploit an existing bug and get noticed. OpenSea is asking all individuals who gained ENS domains unfairly to return it, promising the same 25% commission for each.

They stated they’re going to extend invalidated auctions and plug the leak that made it happen to begin with. They’re going out of their way to notify users who suffered from the bug so they will have a clean, fair chance at winning the bids they were aiming for.

After that, it’s back to business, probably older and wiser from experience. Blockchain is the future, but the future is untested. It’s something many people forget in their over-eagerness to go to the new, profitable ideas of the future. OpenSea was not the first, nor will it be the last entity to make a mistake. It’s only their crack team that stopped the hacker from gaining more names as they slowly mapped out the exploit to its fullest extent.

In other news, Opensea promises to make a more enticing UI as well, and are going forward, stronger than they were before this.

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Author: Ali Raza