Bitcoin Stolen in 2016 $72 Million Bitfinex Hack Moving

Some of the stolen BTC during the $72 million hack of crypto exchange Bitfinex in 2016 has been just moved.

Whale Alert that tracks large movements of top cryptocurrencies reported that 28.3 BTC worth more than $255k has been moved to an unknown wallet.

Four years back, Bitfinex lost 120,000 BTC worth $72 million, when the price of bitcoin was about $600. Today, with each BTC at $9,160, this stash is now worth more than $1 billion.

This isn’t the first time that these hackers are moving their funds. Back in June, last year about 185 BTC were transferred to unknown addresses, at that time BTC price was up over 60% YTD at around $10,000. Then in August, 30 BTC were also moved.

Now, just as happens with large transfers, the crypto community fears the worst.

One twitter user said, “If btc does not crash to sub 4k in 1 month, I’ll delete my twitter.”

Large amounts of Bitcoin on the move surely affects the price as happened on May 10. The BTC price fell about 16% that day after a large deposit took place on Gemini; but that deposit was “abnormally” large at 2,500 BTC unlike just over 28 BTC.

Such kind of big deposits result in heightened activity on the exchange where they were made but also triggers market sell on other exchanges as well. This causes a significant increase in trade volume across all exchanges, resulting in a drop in Bitcoin’s price.

However, at times, relatively small and few orders can also have a significant impact on liquidity across many major exchanges.

Just this week, there was speculation led sell-off that resulted in a brief decline of about 7% in BTC price.

It was after Whale Alert reported that 50 Bitcoin had been moved from a wallet dormant since February 2009. Whale Alert suggested it might have been bitcoin’s pseudo-anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto who moved the coins, triggering the panic among the market, but as we reported it was very unlikely.

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Author: AnTy

4 Million Dai Stablecoins Minted with wBTC; DeFi Gains A Boost from Bitcoin’s Liquidity

MakerDao, Ethereum’s largest DeFi, has facilitated the minting of over 4 million Dai stablecoins based on its newly added synthetic Bitcoin, wBTC.

This transaction was initiated by Nexo, a crypto lending platform, on May 20. It has since signaled the market demand for BTC’s liquidity within Ethereum’s DeFi ecosystem.

Earlier in May, we reported the addition of wBTC as collateral for DAI tokens following a vote by MakerDao’s community. This digital asset has since joined the likes of USDC, BAT, and ETH which were already forms of collateral within the Maker protocol.

Barely a month into its integration, the 1:1 Bitcoin backed, wBTC, is already doing record numbers in the $1 billion DeFi market.

Dai Minting With wBTC

wBTC is an ERC-20 token created once an interested party has deposited Bitcoin with BitGo, which acts as the custodian. It can then be used to stake collateral on the Maker Protocol and borrow Dai stablecoins.

The idea is to scale exposure of DAI loans through the market’s most liquid digital asset. Rune Christensen, the founder of MakerDAO, noted on twitter that there is indeed a market demand for non-ETH assets on DeFi platforms:

“It’s the beginning of a broader trend of DeFi acting as an economic vacuum that will eventually attract almost all value to the Ethereum blockchain.”

According to DeFi Pulse, the wBTC market cap has already hit $21.7 million, having been in operation since January 2019. The initial minting, however, took place as recent as May 11 on Coinlist, where Nexo minted 999.6 wBTC. The Dai stablecoin generated from wBTC could be used for varied purposes such as interest-based lending.

BTC Liquidity in Ethereum DeFi’s

The idea of BTC in Maker’s Protocol was considered for some time but obtained precedence when ETH’s price plummeted on March 12. Though the whole market had taken a hit, ETH’s flash crash raised significant concerns within the maker community. At the time, they considered adding more stablecoins, bitcoin and tokenized gold as alternative collaterals.

Following this discussion, Maker included the USDC to reduce Dai’s issues related to U.S dollar fluctuations. It was not long after that they announced the wBTC collateral in a bid to integrate with Bitcoin’s liquidity. Currently, wBTC enjoys a first-mover advantage into the DeFi ecosystem although other players like tBTC are set to put up a challenge.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Decentralized Blockchain Platform Celo Wraps Up $10M cGLD Auction on CoinList

cLabs, a Silicon Valley-based blockchain startup, has revealed that it has raised approximately $10 million through auctioning off the Celo Gold (cGLD) tokens which were availed to investors within the CoinList platform.

According to a press statement shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, about 509 investors drawn from different parts of the world were involved in the auction process, and on average paying $1 for every Celo Gold (cGLD) token. The press release also indicated that the majority of the investors are from Germany as well as the United Kingdom. The startup also confirmed that on average, a buyer spent about $519 for the cGLD token and in most instances earned about 50 tokens in bonus for referrals. The auction came to an end on Tuesday morning after running for approximately 12 hours.

The current sale of the cGLD tokens will help the startup to add to its $30 million raised in venture capital funding by companies such as Polychain as well as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Apart from being a major funder of the project, Polychain is currently one of the 77 entities which are running Celo validator nodes.

Whereas it is not clear when the launch date will be, the CoinList investors are expecting to get their tokens before the end of the year.

[Also Read: Celo Adds 20+ New Members to the Alliance for Prosperity]

According to Andy Bromberg, CoinList co-founder, the cGLD token sale was the second time the platform has conducted a successful token sale this year and follows the successful sale of Solana tokens which raised 1.76 million. Bromberg also stated that CoinList buyers will be able to get the cGLD tokens direct into their CoinList wallets after the Celo mainnet finally goes live. Additionally, the investors can also opt to transfer their tokens to external wallets that they own to Custodians like Anchorage and Coinbase.

CoinList stated that it is focused on assisting prospective crypto projects to succeed and it was a pleasure to partner with the Celo project. Currently, Celo enjoys the support of more than 700 backers.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Crypto.com Now Boasts $360M In Pooled Insurance to Secure Its 2M Users’ Digital Assets

Crypto.com announces a $360 million insurance fund for their offline crypto assets after partnering with institutional custody provider Ledger Vault, who offered additional insurance through Lloyd’s of London subsidiary crypto arm, Marsh.

However, the company’s CEO, Kris Marszalek, stated the journey to securing the additional funding is costing “an arm and a leg” but hopes for more competitors to enter the field to give crypto companies wiggle room in negotiation.

Crypto.com Insurance Fund Grows to $360 Million

Ledger Vault, a crypto-insurance fund secured a partnership with Lloyd’s of London Syndicate Arch back in 2019, securing a $150 million crypto insurance policy. Crypto.com, a subscriber to the system topped up $100 million through a direct plan and an additional $110 million in custody insurance from BitGo.

Marsh and Arch, the crypto arm in Lloyd’s who are leading focus on crypto-insurance enabled the Crypto.com’s additional insurance policy. James Croome, head of specie for Arch Underwriting believes current challenges in the underwriting of crypto insurance policies lie in understanding the custodial processes employed by the firms. Croome further said:

“By choosing to partner with Ledger Vault, a known service provider to insurers, Crypto.com was not only able to provide underwriters with the necessary confidence in their custodial security, but they were also able to obtain a policy in a much shorter time frame than is ordinarily the case.”

Crypto Insurance is a Hard nut to Crack

Despite successfully raising a record amount of $360 million in Crypto.com’s offline assets insurance, the CEO, Kris Marszalek, laments on the difficulty and time-consuming process, the big institutional insurance firms take. Kris said:

“These types of big firms and institutions take their sweet time of course, and boy, oh boy, do they charge an arm and a leg for this.”

The company paid for the firm’s education in its custodial services within the space. Kris hopes the field will get more competitors in offering insurance to give a leeway for crypto companies to negotiate better rates. He concluded:

“Over time, as the industry gets bigger and maybe some competitors come in, we will have slightly more leverage to negotiate.”

However, top exchanges across the field are coming up with their insurance fund in a bid to solve the current barriers of entry in the institutional crypto-insurance field. Binance, BitMEX, Huobi and other top exchanges are all taking up the “self-insure” approach, but Kris quite prefers an external player given the audits and trust by the users. He said:

“Am I a fan of the insurance industry in general? Probably not. But our customers care. They know that before the insurer gives their stamp of approval, they are going to go in and check everything.”

Crypto.com Adds Payment Plug-in on Ecwid

Currently, the crypto exchange platform has over 2 million customers on the platform, and the number looks set to grow further after recently launching crypto debit and credit card purchases in several countries. Kris explained that the latest crypto insurances were less to do with the fund growing to support the several clients they have.

Furthermore, the company recently announced a partnership with Ecwid, a Shopify kind like application, to provide crypto payment checkouts on the platform. With the platform boasting over one million customers, the Crypto.com Pay Checkout plugin is expected to further raise awareness on crypto utility.

The plugin will support top crypto payments including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), XRP and Crypto.com Coin (CRO), the platform’s native token.

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Author: Lujan Odera

BTC Rewards App Lolli Raises $3M From Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Phan, and Bain Capital

Lolli, an e-commerce app that rewards shoppers with Bitcoin, has successfully raised $3 million in its seed funding.

The latest funding round was participated by Ashton Kutcher through his firm Sound Ventures as well as Michelle Phan from YouTube. Now, Lolli has so far managed to raise $5.4 million in capital.

The round was also participated by Pathfinder which is the early-stage investment outfit, Bain Capital Ventures, Digital Currency Group which owns CoinDesk as well as Craft Ventures.

According to Alex Adelman, Lolli’s CEO, explained that there are various incredible strategic partners which will play a pivotal role in enhancing the mass adoption of Bitcoin and Lolli going forward.

Starting this week, Phan’s fans can utilize Lolli in earning Bitcoin rewards after shopping from her Em Cosmetics website. Adelman explained that the current funding is set to be utilized in introducing Lolli’s mobile app during the upcoming summer as well as expand the firm globally this year.

Since Lolli was started in 2018, the e-commerce sector has changed tremendously. The majority of people in the world are shopping online as well as managing their own funds via apps. For instance, Shopify reported that its revenues have increased by 47% in the first quarter of 2020.

In addition, Square, a fintech startup that provides Bitcoin, is now taking part in mainstream programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program run by the US government. This is evidence that it is becoming easier as days go by for individuals to earn as well as use various forms of currencies from the comfort of their home.

Adelman praised Square’s latest patent to enable fiat to crypto conversion as a ‘game-changer’ that will be beneficial to the retail sector. He explained:

“It’s arguably the most important patent in the payments space that will affect cryptocurrency over the next 10 years. It’s an air-swap where someone can pay with whatever currency they want and also the merchant can accept whatever currency they want.”

Lolli will benefit immensely from Square’s patent as the startup teams up with merchants and retailers that emanate from homepages apart from Amazon. You can learn more about Lolli BTC Rewards App here.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Community In An Uproar as Sun’s Tron Foundation Granted $2M Subsidy from US CARES Act

  • Justin Sun’s TRON foundation has allegedly been awarded $2 million in subsidies, courtesy of the US CARES package.
  • The $2 Trillion act was passed to inject cash flow into the US economy amid global pandemic.

Justin Sun and the TRON Foundation, which he owns, have been thrust into controversy (surprise, surprise.. examples include: here, here, here, here, here, here, and so on) after reports emerged that they received the money from the US stimulus package. This is according to a Chinese WeChat platform post published on Wednesday.

A similar post further discloses that TRON received at least 17 million Yuan, roughly $2.3 million, from the US government’s CARES program. There is also no clause that compels the receivers of the subsidies to pay back at any time. The report indicates that they expect the second batch of subsidies to be disbursed to the TRON foundation soon.

There are still some in the community that believe the PPP loan was awarded to a company that deserves it –

Historic Stimulus Package

The stimulus package act, dubbed CARES, was passed towards the end of March. The package, which totaled $2 trillion was meant to provide immediate cash flow for businesses in the US that were affected by the global pandemic. It is reported to be the biggest slice of the legislation stimulus package in the US ever.

This has drawn massive criticism via social media outlets. A lot of businesses based in the US have faced the uphill struggle in trying to claim the subsidies due to competitive requests (or banks stealing funds).

The Federal Reserve has also come under fire as they came under fire for “rewarding the worst abusers” in a post. A number of Blockchain firms have been rejected by this subsidy program, for example. Bigger firms are allegedly leveraging their close relations with banks to leapfrog other, smaller business applications.

The TRON foundation was not keen to respond to the issue. Ryan Dennis a TRON rep cited that they were unable to comment on the financial matter regarding the private entity.

He, however, emphasized that TRON reputes itself on conducting legal financial practices of the respective jurisdiction they are operating.

TRON’s Presence in the US

TRON migrated its offices to San Francisco after Beijing authorities put a lid of all ICO’s and locally operated crypto exchanges in 2017. This was seen as an attempt to control the financial systems in place.

TRON foundation now boasts of an arsenal of US-based Firms in their fold including BitTorrent and SteemIt located in New York. It also owns live streaming service DLive.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Billion-Dollar Craig Wright- Dave Kleiman Case Moves To Court In July; 1.1 Million BTC at Stake

  • The famous “one million Bitcoin” case between self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, Craig Wright, and Ira Kleiman, brother to deceased, Dave Kleiman, is finally set for trial starting July 6.
  • However, the court is extending the deadline till July 3rd, 2020 for the parties to resolve their claims and present the resolution to court.

The long-running battle between Craig Wright and Kleiman’s estate is taking a swift turn to the courts after a two-year battle of the courts bore no resolutions.

According to the latter, Dave and Craig mined together a stash worth 1 million BTC (~$9 billion) and wished Craig, who has previously admitted to holding the private keys to this mega stash, to relinquish half the BTC the two mined.

However, Craig has come out strongly denying the claims; stating that he mined the whole stash of BTC alone.

On May 1, 2020, U.S Southern District of Florida judge, Reinhart Bloom, declared the trial date is set for July 6, with both legal teams announcing their readiness in participating in the trial.

The set trial will be held during the Court’s two-week trial calendar beginning on July 6, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. at the United States Courthouse, 400 North Miami, Avenue, Courtroom 10-2, Miami, Florida.

Dr Wright’s attorney, Andres Rivero, argues that his client is eager to prove in court his BTC stake.

Rivero further claimed the plaintiffs must be able to prove their 50% stake claim, given Dave and Craig were just friends, which did not entitle any case of sharing the mined BTC. He further said,

“It’s always possible for the cases to be delayed, they could be motions, more requests by the plaintiffs […] But we have opposed all the delays and we’ve always wanted to go to trial.”

A source from Kleiman’s legal team also showed their readiness in presenting evidence and witnesses in court come July 6, brushing off the claims that they were slowing down the process as “absurd.”

The statement from Roche Cyrulnik Freedman LLP, the firm representing Kleiman’s estate reads:

“Any comment that Plaintiffs are responsible for any delays to the trial date is absurd. As Judge Bloom found on January 10, 2020, Craig’s ‘antics and conduct delayed and obstructed the discovery process of this case, wasted valuable time and resources […] and prevented the Plaintiff from obtaining evidence.”

Despite the case moving onto a court date, Craig has yet to provide proof on the claimed 1.1 million BTC coins.

Earlier in the year, reports that the Tulip Trust documents containing the private key to the stash would arrive in a bounded courier never materialized. This led to Craig’s attorneys claiming he does not own the private keys to the coins.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ETH 2.0 will Restrict the Supply and Drive Prices Up, But ‘Unlikely to Succeed as Planned’

Today is a big day for Ethereum as it surpasses 10 million blocks. Unlike the Bitcoin network where it takes 10 minutes to produce one block, Ethereum blocks are mined every 20 seconds.

The digital asset Ether is also recording 57% returns YTD as currently, Ether trades at $205. Moreover, in the past 30 days, Tether paid $757,000 in fees for the processing of transactions on the Ethereum network.

Launched in 2015, Ethereum remains the second biggest network that will go through the PoW to PoS transition in the coming years.

The Ethereum 2.0 roadmap reveals that it will be launched as early as July 2020 but will be implemented in three phases — Phase 0 Beacon Chain which is the one coming by the end of Q2 2020 and will introduce staking.

Phase 2 that will make Eth 2.0 network operational after its introduction at some point in 2022 as Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin recently said, Eth 2.0 issuance could take two years at most.

Back in mid-April, Prysmatic Labs launched Topaz testnet that requires a deposit of 32 ETH, the minimum requirement for staking as planned for Ether 2.0 mainnet.

July launch is likely to be testnet…

The initial launch of Ethereum 2.0 will most likely operate as a testnet network for the new proof of stake (PoS) consensus ecosystem. As such, most of the smart contracts and economic activity will remain on the original network which will exist parallel to Eth 2.0. Moreover, initially, Eth1 coins could be converted into Eth2 but not back.

The issuance rate of Eth2 will depend on the amount of Ether participating in the staking process. And the more ETH is transferred into Eth2, the more coins will be issued. But the more coins are staked the lower the investment return but also lower the annual inflation rate.

The entire economy of Eth 1.0 will be later transferred to new network Eth 2.0, a transition that is “risky, highly complex and will take a considerable amount of time,” noted BitMEX in its latest report.

For Ethereum’s growth to continue, both the full node operators and consensus agents would be required to run larger computers, this would not only become increasingly expensive but could “eventually lead to increased centralisation,” and degrade the censorship resistance characteristic of the system.

As for the much-anticipated sharding for scalability, it would be added to the system in phase 1 which has now been scaled down to just 64 from the original 1,024 shards.

The beacon chain, the parent chain will contain links to each shard. Also, in phase 1, the sharding system and staking process will become interrelated.

An incredibly ambitious project…

According to BitMEX, because of constant experimenting with new and complex systems, Ethereum “satisfies a need in a community keen on trying new ideas.”

As such, a “considerable amount of funds will move into Ethereum 2.0 and earn the staking rewards, perhaps billions of dollars worth of ETH,” predicts BitMEX.

As for what will be the effect of the launch of Ethereum 2.0 on the price, in the short term, a significant amount of ETH will be locked inside the beacon chain attracted by taking which would “restrict the supply of ETH on the market and drive up the price.”

But at the same time, it could merely end up attracting ETH from other contracts where they are locked. But in order to drive long term value, Ethereum 2.0 needs to have sustainable demand as well.

However, before that, there is a lot to be done, the proof of stake and sharding need to work and be “compelling enough to attract the economically significant components of the Ethereum ecosystem over to it.” Moreover, smart contracts and DeFi systems would have to choose between the shards.

So, overall it will be “many years” before the Ethereum ecosystem makes the switch or at least a significant part of it. It said,

“Ethereum 2.0 is an incredibly ambitious project and we consider it highly unlikely that it will succeed as planned, without major hiccups.”

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Author: AnTy

Digital Asset Infrastructure Firm Taurus Raises $11M From Arab Bank Switzerland, Tezos

Taurus Group has secured more than €10 million in an Arab Bank Switzerland-led Series A funding round in a resoundingly successful bid to expand.

Back in September 2019, the digital assets firm and Arab Bank Switzerland closed a partnership to offer the bank’s customers Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) brokerage and custody services. It has been revealed today that the bank will add in the following month XRP to its same services.

Taurus Plans to Open Offices in Other 3 European Major Cities

Based in Geneva, Switzerland – Taurus offers institutional clients market infrastructure solutions in the area of digital assets.

On Wednesday, it announced that it’s planning to open new offices in Paris, Frankfurt and London. Arab Bank Switzerland says that it functions as a bridge between the Western and Arab worlds.

It has led the private Swiss bank Lombard Odier’s Series A funding round too. Listed on the Taurus Series A funding round were also the Tezos Foundation, Investis, also other private and strategic investors that didn’t have their names mentioned. According to Taurus, the co-founders of the company will continue to be the majority shareholders.

Taurus’ European Expansion Comes to Satisfy the High Demand

Series A funding rounds usually take place to ensure a company that has the intention to develop new products and to attract talents for further expansion is continuing to grow. Here’s what Arab Bank Switzerland’s CEO, Serge Robin, had to say about this:

“The financial industry of tomorrow will leverage the blockchain technology both via traditional asset tokenization and digital assets.”

When it comes to the Taurus Group’s growth, the firm’s co-founder, Sebastien Dessimoz, explained a scale-up in engineering and product teams is going to take place as Taurus is expanding on the new markets. Here are Dessimoz’s exact words:

“Taurus is already well established in Switzerland and we have seen a growing demand from other European countries, including France, the United Kingdom and the DACH region.”

The DACH countries are Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

Crypto Banking Institutions Attracted by Switzerland

Switzerland plays host to many crypto banking institutions, Sygnum and Seba Crypto AG as examples. Both of these have obtained securities, dealer, and banking licenses from the country’s regulators.

When it comes to the Swiss financial institutions, the private bank Marki Baumans said last year that it gained 400 new customers, soon after it has it expanded its blockchain offerings and expressed interest in the crypto industry.

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Author: Oana Ularu

China-based Bitcoin Miner Manufacturer Ebang Files for a $100M IPO with the US SEC

The China-based ASIC Bitcoin miner manufacturer Ebang is applying for a $100 million IPO in the US, as per the form filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on April 24, 2020.

In this IPO, Ebang is offering Class A ordinary shares at a value of HK$0.001 (US$ 0.00013) per share. The company intends to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “EBON”.

One of the leading bitcoin mining manufacturers, Ebang has listed Hong Kong-based AMTD Global Markets Limited and US-based Loop Capital Markets as joint underwriters for its IPO.

2019 was worse than 2018

The company reported a revenue of $319 million in 2018 which declined considerably in 2019 to $109 million. One of the leading ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) chip designers made 82% of 2019 revenue on designing these chips for bitcoin mining, primarily from selling Ebit E12 Series machines and E10 Series machines.

Both the number of these chips and their average price declined in 2019 vs the previous year. While Ebang sold 415,930 mining chips at an average price of $737 in 2018, last year it sold 289,953 chips at less than half of the rate ($304). Ebang reported,

“The decrease in the Bitcoin price in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 resulted in a material decrease in our sales volume and in the average selling price of our Bitcoin mining machines. Although the Bitcoin price started to recover in the second quarter of 2019, our operations generally lag behind the increase of Bitcoin price.”

The company had a gross loss of $30.6 million in 2019 compared to the gross profit of $24.4 million in 2018. The net losses meanwhile have been $11.8 million and $41.1 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Bitcoin price and COVID-19 affecting adversely

In its Form F-1, Ebang reported that its operators are majorly dependent on the price of bitcoin, as such “expected to continue to be significantly impacted by the fluctuation of Bitcoin price.”

Bitcoin’s price has a direct impact on the “market demand” of the company’s mining machines, a trend it expects to continue.

The global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has also “adversely affected” the price of bitcoin and lower prices “may continue in the near term and adversely affect our business of operations and financial condition.” Ebang said,

“We and our customers have experienced significant business disruptions and suspension of operations due to quarantine measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, which may cause shortage in the supply of raw materials, reduce our production capacity, increase the likelihood of default from our customers and delay our product delivery.”

This could be why the manufacturer is now focused on developing 5 nm ASIC chips and mining machines for non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin (LTC) and Monero (XMR).

The US is the way after failed attempts in Hong Kong

This isn’t Enbang’s first attempt to go public. Previously, in June 2018, the company filed for an IPO in Hong Kong and failed the same as Canaan. And just like its China-based rival, Ebang has sharply lowered its fund raising target from $1 billion.

Canaan Creative went public last year and raised $90 million (down from the already cut down targeted amount of $400 million). Since listed on Nasdaq in November, the shares of Canaan (CAN) have taken a beating and are now down by over 50%.

The largest bitcoin mining manufacturer Bitmain also tried the Hong Kong route but failed just like the other two. Last year there were reports that Bitmain is also looking to file for an IPO in the US.

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Author: AnTy