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

Vitalik Proposes Cross Rollups Solution to Help Layer 2 Protocols Communicate with Each Other

Vitalik Proposes Cross Rollups Solution to Help Layer 2 Protocols Communicate with Each Other

  • Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin proposes cross-rollups scaling as a solution to the burgeoning Ethereum gas fees while creating a unified crypto ecosystem.

In a post on Ethereum developers’ GitHub channel, Vitalik wrote a proposal to allow platforms using rollups to communicate with each other. He proposes cross-rollup scaling solutions that will ease the rising Ethereum fees while maintaining interconnectivity and composability across the platforms.

Rollups are layer 2 scaling smart contract solutions on blockchains that store and process most of the information off-chain, which allows for faster and cheaper transactions on the blockchain. However, platforms that use different kinds of rollups, including zero-knowledge and optimistic rollups, cannot share this off-chain information with other rollups.

Vitalik’s proposal focuses on two projects that have integrated roll-up scaling but cannot communicate. One of the projects, “Rollup A,” has full smart contract support while another, “Rollup B,” can only perform simple transactions.

In an example of how the cross rollup solution will happen, Vitalik gives a hypothetical example of two platforms – an intermediary, named Ivan – who has funds on platforms on both Rollup A and Rollup B. Ivan fully controls his funds on Rollup A account, IVAN_A, and also has funds in his account on Rollup B, IVAN_B.

Vitalik proposes that the smart contract, IVAN_B, can be programmed to accept “memos” that hold data on anyone sending funds to it to connect the two accounts. This will keep a copy of any future transactions to the Rollup B.

The transactions history (memo) between the two rollups creates a layer that connects the two rollups allowing Rollup A and Rollup B to exchange information. Vitalik explained,

“The expected behavior is simple:

1. Alice sends a transaction to IVAN_A with N coins and a memo ALICE_B

2. Ivan sends a transaction sending TRADE_VALUE * (1 – fee) coins through IVAN_B to ALICE_B.”

Buterin further said the second step could also be executed immediately after the first, adding “contract can even have rules that allow the fee to be greater if Ivan shows proof that the timestamp difference between the second transaction and the first is very low.”

According to the post, the worst-case scenario happens when IVAN_A does not send the coins to ALICE_B. This can easily be solved by Alice waiting until the transaction on Rollup A to confirm, find a way to pay fees on Rollup B, and claim the funds owed to her directly.

The fees can be directly paid on Rollup B; Vitalik explained whether Alice would need to interact with L1 blockchains to reclaim her funds.

“All you need is for rollup B to have access to block hashes of the L1 chain before the previous batch (this can be done safely).”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Square Commits $10M to Bitcoin Clean Energy Initiative; Net-Zero Carbon by 2030

Square has launched a clean energy investment initiative to help make the “bitcoin supply chain greener.”

In its press release on Tuesday, the San Francisco-based company announced its plan to become net-zero carbon for operations by 2030. A verified carbon removal portfolio is expected to be launched in Q1 of 2021.

With this came the ‘Bitcoin Clean Energy Investment Initiative‘ to which Square is committing $10 million to support companies that “help drive adoption and efficiency of renewables within the bitcoin ecosystem.”

The new initiative will support companies working on green energy technologies within the bitcoin mining space and accelerate its transition to clean power. Any gains made from this investment will also be reinvested back into the initiative.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is a Bitcoin proponent and his company Square, which has invested $50 million in BTC, purchases the largest cryptocurrency on behalf of its Cash App customers.

“We believe that cryptocurrency will eventually be powered completely by clean power, eliminating its carbon footprint and driving adoption of renewables globally,” said Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

At the end of October, as we reported, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) sent out a letter to banks and cryptocurrency businesses to pay attention to the financial risks associated with climate change and incorporate them into their business strategies. Dorsey said,

“Published estimates indicate bitcoin already consumes a significant amount of clean energy, and we hope that Square’s investment initiative will accelerate this conversion to renewable energy.”

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Author: AnTy

Binance Recovers 99.9% of Funds from DeFi Exit Scam ‘Wine Swap’ Launched on its Smart Chain

“This is an example of a centralized entity using its resources to help out users who got hurt by a DeFi project,” tweeted Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao after the leading spot exchange shared that they have recovered almost all the funds from the DeFi exit scam.

Out of the estimated $345,000 worth of funds stolen by the DeFi project Wine Swap, by making an exit scam or rug pull, the Binance team has recovered 99.9% of them.

The automated market maker was launched on Binance Smart Chain (BSC), a decentralized exchange which itself rolled out two months ago.

According to the official announcement from Binance, Wine Swap pulled the rug within an hour of its launch on October 13, making away with over $345k, worth as of Nov. 2nd, customer funds.

The victims, identified by their on-chain BSC addresses, had sent a total of 19 different tokens to Wine Swap from 119 different addresses. After making an exit scam, the funds were transferred to the project creator’s address.

When Binance was alerted to the fraud, they followed the flow of funds, from Wine Swap to Binance Chain and then to Ethereum, which were converted into stablecoins, BNB, ETH, and LINK.

The exchange had the funds “successfully frozen in these centralized exchanges after making contact,” which included Binance Bridge, previously known as Panama.

The exchange identified the addresses that fell victim and exactly how much was owed by them by analyzing the transfers. They have also “successfully identified the scammer,” who has been caught red-handed as such “they were quick to cooperate in an attempt to avoid the impending consequences.”

The refund process is now ongoing and is expected to be completed within the next several days.

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Author: AnTy

OpenZeppelin Launches Defender Developer Suite Allowing DApp Building In ‘Minutes’

OpenZeppelin announced the launch of Defender, a developer suite aiming to help developers build smart contracts in “minutes,” on Tuesday. The suite aims to enhance and automate the development and the building of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications on Ethereum. Allowing developers to concentrate on creative inventions instead of spending time rewriting “fundamental code.”

So far, four of the top DeFi platforms – including Aave, dYdX, Compound, and Balancer – are using the product to automate the development operations when building DeFi products.

OpenZeppelin is an Ethereum focused development group providing a secure standard for decentralized applications on the blockchain. Doubling up as one of the top Ethereum smart contract audit firms, OpenZeppelin’s Defender suite will make it faster (development in minutes) to build dApps on a “secure self-secure infrastructure.”

Moreover, OpenZeppelin’s chief technology officer, Jonathan Alexander – speaking to Cointelegraph – stated that easing the process of creating DeFi apps could help reduce the risks of hacks and attacks on smart contracts.

Recently, the Harvest Finance smart contract was exploited as liquidity providers lost $25 million in staked funds. This has been a recurring problem across the decentralized finance ecosystem, including Balancer, YAM Finance, Uniswap, etc. – a problem Alexander believes “could have been avoided or reduced by following a careful security process.”

However, most startup teams lack a transparent security audit due to cost and a “comprehensive system that fully informs them on security best practices and how to assess risk,” he continued.

Props, a blockchain firm using OpenZeppelin’s Defender suite, CEO Peter Watts praised the ease-of-use and enhanced security it offers. He stated,

“Working with high-value smart contracts can be stressful. OpenZeppelin Defender relieves that stress by dramatically reducing the room for human error, making smart contract management simple and safe – it’s a no brainer that will improve the security and efficiency of any team.”

The Defender suite is open source, free, and available for any developer to use Ethereum test nets, including Ropsten, Rinkeby, Kovan, and Goerli.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Celo Lab Announces Acquisition Of Summa To Boost The Celo Ecosystem

  • Leading cross-chain architecture firm Summa with the help of its technical expertise in cross-chain architecture will enable easier system communication between Celo and various blockchains.

On the 13th of August 2020, token-funded startup cLab was thrilled to announce the acquisition of the leading blockchain interoperability firm Summa. This is to enable cross-chain bridges between Celo and other various blockchains. Marek Olszewski, the Chief Technology Officer at cLabs, asserted that the new acquisition would help Celo execute the platform’s long term vision.

His counterpart James Prestwich who is the co-founder of Summa, also expressed his excitement working with Celo, saying that over the past two years, they had built the interoperability space from scratch.

cLabs multifaceted engineering team is behind the cross-chain architecture that drives BTC. Summa, which is backed by Polychain Capital, is a significant contributor to the Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, and Cosmos ecosystems. Together, they have a proven track record of innovation in blockchain interoperability as well as extensive knowledge of blockchain architecture.

The addition of Summa’s expertise in interoperability will allow cLabs to bring additional support to the Celo chain, enabling further diversification and decentralization of the Celo Reserve in a fully-permissionless way and improving both the security and user experience of the Celo Platform.

Marek Olszewski, the Chief Technology Officer of cLabs, praised Summa as one of the best teams focused on cross-chain bridges. The latest acquisition of Summa is expected to contribute to the adoption of Celo as the technology is bridged to the broader ecosystem. Through venture capital and token sales, Celo has so far raised 40 million dollars.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Compound’s DeFi Craze Continues As Institutional Crypto Custodian, Curv, Opens Up Support

Curv, the crypto custody startup, is using the Compound protocol to help institutions earn passive income on their crypto assets. The startup has gained popularity among asset managers, exchanges, and other institutional clients. However, as of now, only deposits are made possible on the platform, and Curv said that as it reaches more people, it would add borrowing of crypto assets as well.

Curv integrates Compound protocol in its platform, which allows these institutional investors and hedge fund managers to lend their crypto assets and use smart contracts to earn passive income or withdraw loans in any ERC-20 tokens.

Josh Schwartz., Curv Chief Operating Officer, commented on their decision to integrate Compound in their platform and said:

“We got requests for it maybe about two, two-and-a-half months ago. The Compound is the first DeFi integration. They’ve seen a lot of growth lately, and they lead the way with 40% of DeFi value locked up in their protocol. Compound has a long list of institutions who would love to interact with them but need a secure stack to do so.”

The COO also highlighted that they had to build a separate policy engine to integrate Compound’s Ethereum-based smart contracts on its platform.

Curv is currently in an expansion mode and opened its first office in Asia in April of this year with an office based in Hong Kong in association with Japan-based Crypto Garage. The firm also raised $23 million in Series A funding round, which attracted investment from the likes of Coinbase Ventures and the investment arm of Germany’s Commerzbank.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Human Rights Foundation and Crypto Custody, Casa, Partner to Help Activists Use & Secure BTC

The Human Rights Foundation has partnered with Bitcoin security firm Casa to help activists protect their bitcoin holdings and donations used in the fight against human rights abuses around the world. Casa would offer its multi-signature self custody solution to help the foundation save donations in Bitcoin.

Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at Human Rights Foundation, in a release stated that Bitcoin could help the activists raise the necessary funds to help people around the world, especially in these troubled political climates. He said:

“Bitcoin has enormous potential to help activists raise funds to fight human rights abuses in difficult political environments, but storing it in a safe yet accessible way has always been a challenge.”

He added:

“With software like Casa, organizations can keep their Bitcoin secure while maintaining full control, without the risk of losing funds due to a mistake. Activists must control the private keys to their Bitcoin, so they can always get their funds to where it’s needed when it’s needed.”

Casa Would Offer Educational Resources For Activists to Understand Bitcoin Better

The partnership between Casa and Human Rights Foundation would see the bitcoin security company offering educational resources to activists and non-profit organizations to help them understand different aspects and potential of Bitcoin, and how they can use it in their fight against human rights abuses.

The partnership would also conduct various workshops where Casa will be offering its insight and expertise in the field of cybersecurity and bitcoin security to help activists protect their funds and use it efficiently.

Casa combines proven technologies with hardware wallets and risk diversification to ensure the safety of one’s bitcoin. The partnership between the two firms can also pave the way for future use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for social welfare work. If this partnership turns into a success story, other organizations would even fancy their chances of incorporating bitcoin into their operations.

Nick Neuman, CEO at Casa, commented on how Bitcoin could prove to be a great aid over fiat in the current system and explained:

“Sadly, human rights organizations face unique challenges when it comes to managing their funds, including having their bank accounts frozen, as we saw in 2019 when HSBC froze the account of Hong Kong pro-democracy group Spark Alliance due to political pressure.”

He concluded:

“But Bitcoin changes the game. As long as it is protected within a highly secure self-custody solution, Bitcoin enables activists to receive and spend funds in a way that governments and corporations can’t control. Bitcoin also provides significantly more freedom for moving funds around the world and, since it’s not subject to the fees and friction of international transfers, more money is available more quickly to fund projects that make a real difference.”

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Author: James W

Blockchain Developer Platform Releases Alchemy Build, A Tool Suite for Faster Production

Alchemy, a blockchain startup, focuses on building developers’ tools to help them become more productive and focus more on actual product development. The blockchain startup boasts some of the most influential artists in the 21st century among its investors, which include the likes of Jay-Z and Will Smith. The startup raised $15 million in Series A funding round in 2019.

The startup announced its new product, called Alchemy Build suite, which consists of debugging and search tools and promises to reduce the amount of time spent by developers on issues not related to the actual product.

The suite primarily consists of 4 tools, which include an explorer to help developers quickly locate the bugs and errors in the system, a composer to help developers create prototypes, a visualizer to find stuck transactions, and a debugger.

Alchemy a Big Hit Among Ethereum Based Product Makers

Alchemy is relatively unknown for the amount of work and collaboration it has seen since its inception. Alchemy’s platform is actively used by Ethereum based products and Dapps developers for developing the infrastructure of their products. Its client list includes the famous gaming dApp CryptoKitties, Binance Wallet, and Opera Web Platform.

Nikil Viswanathan, the co-founder of Alchemy, believes their latest product in the form of a Build suite would enhance and help developers to create a better product in less time. He said:

“Ultimately, this means that…developers [can] build products faster, which means that the users get more products, and more innovation in the blockchain space happens overall.”

The startup’s goal has been to remove the hurdles in the path of developers, and many firms who have partnered or used Alchemy’s tools are a testament to that.

The digital asset marketplace Ethereum-based, OpenSea, has also used Alchemy’s tool for building on resonated the same. Devin Finzer, the CEO of OpenSera said:

“Alchemy Build has been crucial in helping us build and debug our global marketplace.”

Pantera Capital, one of the leading investors during the Series A funding round, applauded the progress that the startup has made since its beginning. Paul Veradittakit, a partner, said:

“Alchemy Build is improving the lives of Ethereum developers by leaps and bounds, helping drive the ecosystem towards its potential.”

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Author: James W

Irish Crypto Service Providers Were Denied Banking Help Due to Delays 5AMLD Implementation

The Irish crypto service providers are struggling to get any banking help locally as cryptocurrencies are still unregulated in the country and the government has failed to formulate any laws based on the new EU directives.

However, the issue is not new, in fact, crypto service providers highlighted this same issue almost two years ago. Revealing that they had to open a foreign bank account since under existing laws banks were not willing to offer them any form of service.

According to the IrishTimes, a few local banks which did offer their service also terminated their contract citing unregulated markets and no laws governing virtual assets in the country. Boinnex, a bitcoin ATM operator, received a similar message recently when the AIB bank sent a letter revealing termination of services. Citing the delays in implementation of the latest 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directives (5AMLD) being implemented by the government.

Tierney, Boinnex founder expressed the frustration and said,

“Entering into a formal relationship with entities carrying out this type of business activity is outside of our risk appetite at this time.

We’ve been forced to get a banking partner abroad. A lot of companies in the space are in a similar situation.

Some of these foreign banks charge exorbitant fees as they know they’re the only show in town.”

The 5th AMLD directives were supposed to be implemented by the end of January but due to the upcoming general elections and the political parties failing to ensure a stable government in the times of crisis has led to continuous delays in the implementation of the new EU directives

Tierney also revealed that the crypto operators have been in touch with the central bank since 2018 and have also paid significant legal costs to ensure proper implementation of AMLD directives, but they did not offer any assurance. In fact, central banks noted that these crypto asset service providers are outside the supervisory framework.

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Author: James W