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

Crypto Exchange FTX Joins the NFT Trend, Launches Non-Fungible Token MarketPlace

Crypto Exchange FTX Joins the NFT Trend, Launches Non-Fungible Token MarketPlace

Popular crypto exchange FTX is diversifying into the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) scene with the rollout of the FTX NFT marketplace.

FTX Presents Unique NFTs

FTX NFT marketplace features unique tokenized assets that customers can bid on. Some of the NFTs are linked to real-world objects and are “redeemable” for their physical equivalents.

For example, one of the NFT tokens called “SBF Lunch” is redeemable for an in-person lunch or 30-minute Zoom conversation with FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Currently, the highest price for this NFT is $110,000, with the deadline for the bidding scheduled for June 17.

Other notable NFTs on the marketplace include FTX and FTX.US branded caps, hoodies, t-shirts, and socks alongside other NFTs listed by third parties.

The exchange’s NFT Platform runs on both the Ethereum and the Solana blockchain. While Ethereum is the blockchain of choice for most NFT marketplaces, Solana recently joined the party.

FTX created a standalone NFT marketplace called FTX US–which is separate from the global FTX marketplace.

NFTs are unique assets that can be bought and sold like most assets, but they have no tangible form or shape of their own. The tokens themselves are a form of certificates authenticating ownership of the virtual assets. NFTs generated a lot of buzz earlier this year, following the sale of some massive tokens, including the widely reported Beeple Artwork, which sold for $69.3 million at Christie’s Auction. At the time of the purchase, Beeple’s NFT was regarded as the most expensive NFT sale to date and the third biggest sale of any artwork worldwide.

Crypto Exchanges Rolling Out NFT Platforms

FTX isn’t the only exchange trying to take advantage of the NFT craze. Several crypto exchanges have either launched or shown interest in establishing their NFTs lately.

Gemini, the crypto exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, owns the widely popular NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway—which they acquired in 2019. Another exchange entering the NFT sector is Binance. Binance is planning on rolling out its NFT platform in June. The exchange recently disclosed its business development initiative to onboard “100 Creators” to its forthcoming NFT platform. Leading Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX is also expecting to launch its NFT marketplace soon. At the same time, South Korean trading platform Korbit has hopped on the train.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Bridgewater Associates’ CFO Joins Crypto Custodian NYDIG

Bridgewater Associates’ CFO Joins Crypto Custodian NYDIG

NYDIG, a subsidiary of $10 billion New York-based asset manager Stone Ridge, has appointed John Dalby as its Chief Financial Officer.

Dalby was previously the CFO of Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. While Dalio may not have fully come around Bitcoin, his hedge fund’s CFO has joined the bitcoin investment and technology solutions provider. Dalby said,

“Every day, more industries come to understand Bitcoin’s potential, and more clients seek ways to safely access it. Personally, I share NYDIG’s vision for Bitcoin’s ability to propel economic empowerment for all.”

NYDIG recently raised over $300 million from the likes of New York Life, MassMutual, Liberty Mutual, Starr Companies, and FIS with an aim to target the untapped insurance industry. Ross Stevens, founder and Executive Chairman of NYDIG said,

“John’s move to NYDIG showcases an increasing trend of top talent voting with their feet to propel Bitcoin’s inclusionary role as the De(Central) Bank and its dual mandate as ultimate risk-on asset and the ultimate risk-off asset.”

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Author: AnTy

“Customer Demand” Pulling Them In; Goldman Sachs Joins Coin Metrics’ $15M Investment Round

“Customer Demand” Pulling Them In; Goldman Sachs Joins Coin Metrics’ $15M Investment Round

Money is pouring into the crypto market; as of April 27, 156 startups focused on digital technology had raised $3.1 billion, compared to just $2.3 billion raised in 341 deals in the entire 2020.

Coin Metrics has raised $15 million in a Series B investment round led by Goldman Sachs.

“We think this is a huge day for us,” Tim Rice, a co-founder and the firm’s chief executive officer said. “A huge credentialization.”

While Castle Island Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Fidelity Investments, Avon Ventures, Communitas Capital, and Collab+Currency increased their investment in the company, new investors to join included Acrew Ventures, Morningside Group, BlockFi, and Warburg Serres Investments.

Founded in 2017, Coin Metrics is a cryptocurrency and blockchain data provider to institutional clients which plans to use the proceeds to grow in Europe and Asia, create new products and expand its current offerings.

Mathew McDermott, global head of digital assets for Goldman Sachs’s global markets division, will join Coin Metrics’ board of directors, Rice said in an interview.

According to Rice, the way large institutions such as asset managers and Wall Street banks are approaching crypto is different from the 2017 bull market as “This time around you have people looking for a holistic data solution,” he said. “They need to have solid data to get into the asset class.”

Fidelity Investments, one of Coin Metrics’ investors, is also its client. “We’ve definitely seen the institutions behave very seriously; they’re now signing contracts with us,” Rice said.

Banks that have been staying on the sidelines are also getting comfortable with the $2.47 trillion market.

“Customer demand is starting to pull them in,” Rice said.

Earlier this week, we reported that the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, Coinbase, also acquired data analytics platform Skew for an undisclosed amount to better serve its institutional and trading clients.

Money has been pouring into the crypto market amidst the ongoing bull run. Not just crypto assets but projects like Digital Asset Holdings LLC, Chainalysis Inc, Blockchain.com, Paxos Trust Co. are raising a lot of funds.

As of April 27, 156 startups focused on digital technology had raised $3.1 billion, compared to just $2.3 billion raised in 341 deals for all of 2020, according to CB Insights.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Payment Network, BitPay, Joins Square-Led Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA)

Bitcoin Payment Network, BitPay, Joins Square-Led Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA)

The alliance promotes sharing open-source patents and projects across partners.

BitPay is the latest in a string of big crypto companies to join the Square-led Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a blog post released on Wednesday confirmed. The alliance aims to enhance development across the crypto industry by promoting open-source projects and shared patents among members.

Launched in 2020, COPA is an alliance working towards ensuring Bitcoin and crypto remain completely free and open – as first envisioned by Satoshi. Square and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has been at the forefront in calling for cooperation across the crypto field, stating the alliance will “help the crypto community defend against patent aggressors and trolls,” just like they recently did with Faketoshi, Craig Wright.

With cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies becoming mainstream, firms in the space are changing their way of business, with patent protection and court battles becoming the order of the day, Stephen Pair, CEO of BitPay, said.

“We see both business and consumer adoption accelerating as a result of COPA industry leaders working together to advance technology innovation, making the blockchain easy to use for both businesses and consumers.”

As one of the oldest Bitcoin payment channels, BitPay saw it fit to release their patents to the alliance to enhance innovation in the crypto payment space. The platform processes cryptocurrency payments to enable borderless payments using assets such as BTC, ETH, DOGE, BCH, and stablecoins such as USDC, PAX, and BUSD.

BitPay joins Coinbase (a COPA founding member) as the second high-profile company in the COPA alliance to push forward an ‘open patents policy’ to boost the growth in developments and innovation in the crypto ecosystem, a statement from Coinbase read at the time.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Former Disney Star Lindsay Lohan Joins NFT Mania With Exclusive Collectibles on Tron Network

Former Disney Star Lindsay Lohan Joins NFT Mania With Exclusive Collectibles on Tron Network

After Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban launched a non-fungible token (NFT) for his motivational quote on Mintable, American actress Lindsay Lohan is joining the NFT mania.

NFTs To Change The Narrative For Creatives

The actress and singer plans to launch her own NFTs through a Tron- based auction marketplace. According to the announcement, the exclusive 1 of 1 NFT collectible would be available on Justin Sun’s blockchain project. Her NFT proposal would find itself on the newly launched TRC-721 protocol by Tron. The digital collectible would be available for bidding on March 20.

In anticipation of the NFT sales, Lohan would host a Clubhouse chat session with Justin Sun, founder and CEO of Tron blockchain, and BitTorrent and T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

NFTs have become immensely popular in the last couple of months.

With the digital collectibles niche becoming something of a fad, many artists, celebrities, athletes, musicians, companies, and even entertainment-focused businesses are looking to tap into the NFT market. This comes as popular digital artists Beeple posted record sales of his digital artwork earlier this month.

The TRC-721 protocol has been touted to be a viable alternative to Ethereum’s ETH 1.70% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 1,815.85
$30.871.70%
Volume 21.25 b Change $30.87 Open $1,815.85 Circulating 115.12 m Market Cap 209.04 b
3 h Robinhood Is Working Fast on A ‘Wallet’ Feature; CEO says Might Add New Coins Too 6 h “Dark Horse”: BNT Burn Is Around the Corner As A Swiss Bank Embraces Bancor 7 h Former Disney Star Lindsay Lohan Joins NFT Mania With Exclusive Collectibles on Tron Network
expensive and often congested network. Tron and a slew of alternative smart contract platforms like Polkadot DOT 6.27% Polkadot / USD DOTUSD $ 38.27
$2.406.27%
Volume 2.49 b Change $2.40 Open $38.27 Circulating 921.9 m Market Cap 35.28 b
6 h “Dark Horse”: BNT Burn Is Around the Corner As A Swiss Bank Embraces Bancor 7 h Former Disney Star Lindsay Lohan Joins NFT Mania With Exclusive Collectibles on Tron Network 2 d “Just the Beginning,” says Charles Hoskinson as Coinbase Listing Helps Cardano (ADA) Become the 3rd Largest Crypto
are rolling out cheaper and faster solutions to attract NFT fans.

Sun’s Tron is creating an entire experience for the NFT community as fans will be allowed to interact with content creators in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

Another Publicity Stunt by Sun?

In a statement made soon after Lindsay Lohan announced her Clubhouse show, Sun described her as a “true icon” who was driven by blockchain and crypto’s transformative potential.

Sun has always courted the public’s attention to drive visibility for his blockchain project. Earlier this month, he tried buying Jack Dorsey’s first-published tweet of March 2006. He lost the bid to Oracle CEO Sina Estavi, who paid a reported $2.5 million for the tweet.

In another instance, he came close to snatching up Beeple’s Everyday: The First 5000 Days artwork, which went for almost $70 million. He lost the bidding session hosted by UK auction house Christie’s by $250k.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Taco Bell Joins in on NFT Action as Non-Fungible Tokens Mani Goes Mainstream

Taco Bell Joins in on NFT Action as Non-Fungible Tokens Mani Goes Mainstream

The NFT space sees impressive growth with $91 million in crypto art sold last month, 8x of January.

Taco Bell, a popular fast-food chain, is the latest to join the non-fungible tokens (NFT) mania.

The restaurant chain created five different NFTs that were released late Sunday on the marketplace Rarible. The tokens were put on sale for 0.001 ETH worth just $1.79, with the highest bid on them going to 0.4 WETH ($700).

All profits were donated to the Taco Bell Foundation.

Taco Bell is the just latest one to join the digital art and collectibles ecosystem. Last week, the band King of Leons released its latest album with an NFT. The largest crypto collectible brand, NBA TopShot, has recorded $300 million in all-time sales. Currently, a Snoop Dogg Niftydudes NFT has bidding of $1.4 million.

Lindsay Lohan is particularly making use of NFTs, minting and selling her “Mean Girls” images for thousands of dollars. Musician Grimes, partner of Bitcoin fan and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are also getting in on the action around NFTs.

Popular collectibles CryptoPunks, one of the earlier crypto art blockchain projects created by larva Labs in 2017, have also gone parabolic, surpassing 66k in all-time ETH sales ($105 million).

“There wasn’t a way to own things or know that you owned them online before this,” said Matt Hall, the co-founder of CryptoPunks. “The miracle of digital is that copying was perfect and free. This is reversing part of that — which is kind of weird.”

Another project is Hashmasks, whose index funds allow investors to get exposure without owning an entire NFT themselves, which are currently 825 in NFTX.

There are currently four artists with more than $10 million in artwork value.

According to Dune Analytics, one of the popular NFT marketplace Opensea’s monthly transaction volume in February reached a record-high of $93.9 million, about 11.68x of the volume recorded in the previous month. Its users have also exceeded 50k.

Overall, $91 million in crypto art was sold last month, 8x of January, as per CryptoArt.

“NFT projects are soaring! Since the beginning of the year, the combined market cap of the top NFTs has increased 5x, holding a whopping $4.4bil of value today!” notes The TIE.

NFTs are expected to drive crypto adoption as it gains so much of the mainstream attention.

“NFTs are a big statement on the longevity of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and the monetization of content creation,” said Douglas Boneparth, president of Bone Fide Wealth, a New York-based financial advisory firm.

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Author: AnTy

State Bank of India Joins JPMorgan’s Ethereum-Forked Blockchain Payment Network, Liink

State Bank of India Joins JPMorgan’s Ethereum-Forked Blockchain Payment Network, Liink

State Bank of India (SBI), the largest bank in India, has announced a partnership with US bank JPMorgan to use its blockchain-based technology to enhance international transactions.

The government-owned bank explained that the partnership would help reduce transaction costs and time to execute customers’ payments. The bank stated that it would take hours to execute international payments and not the usual two weeks. The bank also stated that beneficiaries will now get their payments faster as it will involve fewer steps.

Venkat Nageswar, SBI deputy managing director, explained that the bank has been undertaking various digital transformations in the recent past and is keen to add more to enhance their daily operations. Nageswar told India’s Economic Times,

“We are excited to be the first bank in India to go live on the network and look forward to a closer partnership with JP Morgan on implementation and exploring applications as part of the network to better serve our clients.”

JPMorgan’s blockchain-based network, dubbed Liink, is a decentralized network where numerous financial firms, fintech firms, and other corporations can subscribe. The network enables the users to conduct secure and peer-to-peer data interchanges at fast speeds. It was started in 2017 being dubbed Interbank Information Network, but it rebranded to Liink in October last year.

Currently, over 400 financial-based institutions and corporates have subscribed to Liink from 78 nations. The enlisted firms include 27 of the globe’s top-ranking 50 banks. The network boasts of about 100 live banks consisting of private and government-owned institutions.

JPMorgan Chase India managing director, Prabdev Singh, explained that the recent deal with SBI is in tandem with its program to enhance its blockchain presence within India and the region. Singh stated that the firm is continually exploring how the new technologies can change customers’ experiences positively.

Apart from changing its name to Liink, JPMorgan also rolled out its own stablecoin dubbed JPM Coin last year. The stablecoin was launched to enhance international payments.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Ant Financial and Tencent- Backed Banks Joins China’s Digital Currency Trials

Ant Financial and Tencent- Backed Banks Joins China’s Digital Currency Trials

Alibaba and Tencent owned banks set to launch China’s digital yuan trials. The private banks will simulate trials set across state-owned banks.

  • MYBank, an Ant-Financial-owned bank, plans to launch digital yuan trials across China as the state’s digital currency/ electronic payment (DC/EP) project edges closer to full launch.
  • Tencent-backed WeBank also announced similar plans to launch digital currency wallets.

According to a Bloomberg report, the two projects will have the same functionalities as the digital wallets already in trial across six government-owned banks. The six banks, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, and Bank of China, launched the trials across provinces in the country, allowing users to make digital payments and transfer money.

The addition of the two banks aims at increasing the adoption and utility of the digital yuan across China. MYBank, in particular, has been a key researcher in developing an electronic yuan in the past and looks forward to furthering its commitment to digital payments. The bank will partner with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to “steadily advance the trial” of the digital yuan in the future.

The central bank has already made massive steps in preparing for the launch of the digital yuan. Earlier in the month, BEG reported a partnership between the PBoC and SWIFT to launch a new digital payment service that could be tied to its CBDC. Additionally, the bank completed its largest yet rollout test for the CBDC, disbursing over $3 million worth of the digital currency to over 30,000 citizens.

The two firms become the first private firms to join the digital yuan trials with a potential battle with payment services such as WeChat Pay and Alipay in sight. Despite

Alibaba’s Ant Financial owns a 30% stake in MYBank, while Tencent is the largest shareholder of WeBank, holding 30% of its stake.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Former TD Ameritrade Digital Assets Head Joins Fed Reserve as Chief Innovation Officer

Former TD Ameritrade Digital Assets Head Joins Fed Reserve as Chief Innovation Officer

Sunayna Tuteja has joined the Federal Reserve System as the Chief Innovation Officer. Before heading this position, Tuteja was previously working at TD Ameritrade as the Managing Director, Head of Digital Assets & DLT (Blockchain, Crypto), reads her LinkedIn profile.

TD Ameritrade has been providing its services to cryptocurrency users for some time now. It also made a strategic investment in ErisX, the cryptocurrency spot, and futures exchange during the bear market.

Tuteja joined the broker in 2014 to head its digital strategy department, following which she changed the department that specifically dealt with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Here, Tuteja only spent less than two years.

Under her latest role, she will be working on the Federal Reserve System’s digital innovation strategy. As a CINO, the official is required to stay abreast of the technology industry and market trends to understand their impact on the Fed system. The description for this position reads,

“This role will be responsible for identifying, researching, enabling and evangelizing for innovative new technologies while fostering a culture of technical innovation, encouraging System-wide collaboration and experimentation.”

This is another positive development for the cryptocurrency market, bringing us all that much closer to positive and clear regulations.

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Author: AnTy